How An Attorney Can Help
If you speak with a disability attorney who has worked with veterans to get their VA and Social Security disability entitlements, this will help to ensure you have provided all the documentation needed to support your claim. Often there are delays due to insufficient documentation being provided.
Your attorney will have experience and knowledge about how the SSA works and should know what is required to win both a VA and SSD claim. Processing claims for any disability payments often take months and even in some cases years for a decision to be reached. You can normally expect to receive an answer more quickly if you ask an attorney to work on your behalf.
Most attorneys, but not necessarily all, do not require any upfront payments for their services, so you will only need to pay legal fees once your claim have been settled. If your claims are denied you may not be asked to pay any legal fees.
If you are unsure of the terms of hiring an attorney, check with the attorney before going through the hiring process. This will ensure you arent unduly worried about an unexpected bill being posted to you.
As many claims are denied the first time round this shouldnt discourage you, as your chosen attorney can work through the appeals process with the hope of winning a favorable settlement on your behalf sooner rather than later. Complete the Free Case Evaluation today!
Applying For Va Disability Benefits Years After Service Tip #: Write Strong Personal Statements Using 38 Cfr Part 4 As Your North Star
If youre going to file a successful VA disability claim, you must get inside the process, and understand HOW the VA will review and rate your claim.
To start, I think you need to gain a deep understanding of the law that governs the various disabilities.
To do that, you must begin with the source document!
CFR 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities is the one-and-only source document to glean information about the Schedule for Rating Disabilities.
It is also THE guiding document used by the VA Rater reviewing your claim.
I highly recommend reading through the entire publication.
Its long, I know.
But understanding the various claimable disabilities and all corresponding ratings, is critical to getting a favorable outcome.
And, you must understand if your disability condition is even claimable and ratable.
Did you know there are more than 833 ratable disabilities under the law?
*EXPERT TIP!* As youre going through CFR, Title 38 Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities, open an MS Word file on your computer, and begin copying/pasting various disability conditions that may pertain to you.
You might be surprised at how many disabilities you actually qualify for.
I also recommend writing a Statement in Support of a Claim on the VA Form 21-4138 for EVERY disability youre filing for.
For example, youre going to open and file one VA claim with many different disability conditions.
Guess what else?
Veterans Pension Versus Disability Compensation
In some cases, veterans can receive disability compensation. It’s not the same as the VA pension. Heres a way to tell the difference:
Disability compensation is for an illness or injury that happens because of or was made worse by your military service. Its not income-based and war service is not required.
A VA pension is for war veterans with a low income and who may have a disability that is not service-related.
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Dont Choose A Disability Date Before You Stop Working
Selecting your onset date of disability is a key factor in proving your disability claim. Multiple factors need to be considered when selecting a date and one that can be proven. This is not a cut and dry decision. However, what is true in most cases is that if you select a disability date prior to the date you stopped working full time, your claim will be delayed and most likely denied
Other Tips For The Claims Process
- Save everything! Make a copy of absolutely every document and form submitted to the VA, and send everything via registered mail. Records can and do get lost, and you want to keep your own paper trail should anything come into question later.
- Add Buddy Statements! In addition to the medical documentation you provide as evidence for your disability claim, consider submitting buddy statements. These statements from individuals who served alongside you may bolster your claim, especially where evidence is lacking about an event that caused injury.
- Make Connections! Before submitting your claim, give careful thought and consideration to any conditions that may stem from service-related conditions. For example, can your physician help you draw a connection between service-connected PTSD and a heart condition that appeared later?
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If Your Application Is Denied
After we review your application and the information you provided, we may decide you do not meet the qualifications for disability benefits.
If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to ask us to look at your application again. The notice you receive from us that says you don’t qualify will explain how to appeal our decision and the time period in which you must make the request.
If we decide you don’t qualify:
Because you are not disabled under our rules, you can appeal our decision online.
The online disability report will ask you for updated information about your medical condition and any treatment, tests, or doctor visits since we made our decision.
My Experience Filing For Va Disability
In my case, I chose to work with a VSO rep who had an office in the local VA hospital. After I filed my initial claim, I had to wait 14 months to receive my physical examination. I was told the delay had happened at the regional processing center, not the local VA hospital.
When I finally had my exam, the folks at the VA hospital were in a rush to complete my case, since the metrics looked bad . On the one hand, this meant that my case was given priority. On the other hand, in the rush to close out my paperwork a few corners were cut. For example, one of the specialists I needed to see was not available, and I never received that portion of my exam. The claim was processed without it, and that portion of my claim was denied.
Overall, exam day was a neutral experience . Several of my examiners were skeptical of my claimed disabilities, which was frustrating when they seemed to make up their minds against my claim almost instantly, regardless of what I said. It was difficult for me to catalog my ailments and argue for my disability after years of conditioning to show no weakness and admit nothing to the doctor. Take Vitamin M and drive on doesnt leave a very strong paper trail for supporting your case, and old habits are hard to break.
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What Evidence Do You Need For Your Application
The evidence you gather for your SSI and SSDI applications are similar to that for your VA disability claim.
Be sure to have evidence, including:
- Medical records
- Diagnostic records proving your disability
- List of medications
- List of treating physicians and medical facilities
- Work history from the past 15 years
You will also need personal documents including your original birth certificate and Social Security card when applying. If you have questions about specific evidence to gather, call your local Social Security office.
Why It Is Important To Have A Disability Attorney When You Apply For Ssd Benefits
The application process takes a few hours to complete, but only if you have all your paperwork ready. The benefits of having an experienced SSD attorney to help you file your application become obvious as you try to work through the SSAs roadblocks and complicated system. But Richmond disability lawyer Corey Pollard has years of experienced helping disabled workers prepare a strong SSD application so that your odds of being approved are as high as possible. Well gather the appropriate paperwork, answer your questions, make sure everything is done correctly, and work to build your case. Call now to apply for Social Security disability benefits in Richmond, VA.
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Other Ways To File Claims For Va Disability Benefits
If you do not wish to utilize Ebenefits, there are several other ways to submit your claim for benefits, including the following:
- Mail it to the Evidence Intake Center at the following address PO Box 4444, Janesville, WI, 53547-4444
- Go in person to your local Regional Office
- Seek legal representation with a Veterans Service Organization, accredited claims agent, or VA disability lawyer
Our Law Firm Is Here To Support Disabled Veterans
To summarize how to apply for VA disability benefits, you need to ensure you are eligible, submit supporting documentation, complete an application, and file your claim. While this only covers four steps, each one can be time-confusing and the expectations difficult to understand at times.
Our best advice is to request a VSO if you feel uncertain. Paying attention to details and providing enough supporting documentation is key to a successful outcome with initial VA disability claims.
Our experienced veteran attorneys are available to represent you if the VA denies your claim. We invite you to complete Hill & Pontons online case evaluation that should take less than three minutes of your time. Someone from our practice will follow up with you within one business day to arrange a time to discuss your case in more detail.
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Tips For Applying For Social Security Disability And Va Benefits As A Disabled Veteran
Help With Your Va Disability Claim
If you need assistance with your disability claim, you can visit your local VA office. You may also get help from a disability lawyer. An experienced disability benefits attorney can review your claim, gather vital evidence, and prepare the necessary paperwork to help you receive the compensation you deserve. If youve been injured in service to your country, we can assist you with your VA benefits claim. Call us today or complete the contact form on this page.
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Tip #: Ask Your Doctor To Write A Medical Nexus Letter To Help Prove The Nexus For Service Connection
What is a Medical Nexus Letter?
What is a Medical Nexus Letter?
A Medical Nexus Letter is an evidence-based document prepared by a qualified medical professional, such as a PA-C or an MD, that helps to establish a connection between the claimed in-service disease or injury and the veterans current disability.
This connection or link in VA disability compensation claims is often referred to as the Nexus, which is all-important for determining service connection under the law.
Because NO service connection equals NO VA disability benefits!
A Nexus Letter often serves as linchpin piece of evidence needed to help a veteran get their VA disability service connected, especially if youve been denied previously.
Why are Independent Medical Opinions so effective at helping Veterans prove service connection?
Simple. Because they can influence the C& P examiners medical opinion as well as the VA Raters final VA disability rating decision, if and only if they are properly prepared, meaning, they are competent and credible, and evidence-based along with supporting rationale.
What is a Nexus Letter for a Secondary Condition?
A Nexus Letter for a Secondary Condition is an evidence-based document prepared by a qualified medical professional, such as a PA-C or an MD that helps establish a connection between the current primary disability and the claimed secondary condition for secondary service connection.
Looking to find Doctors That Write Nexus Letters for Veterans?
Is Your Impairment Severe
For a psychological or physical condition to be considered a disability, it must be severe enough to prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. An impairment in and of itself is not enough to qualify you for benefits.
The impairment must impact your ability to perform standard tasks, including physical tasks such as sitting, standing, and carrying objects, as well as more complex tasks that involve using sound judgment, understanding directions and responding appropriately to co-workers and supervisors.
The condition must also as we stated above be expected to result in death or last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
If your impairment is not severe, you would not qualify for SSD benefits. However, if it is severe, your evaluation would move on to the next step.
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What Are Fully Developed Claims And Decision Ready Claims
In 2010, the VA introduced a way to fast-track claims that are called Fully Developed Claims. In these cases, the onus is on the veteran to provide all of the necessary documentation and evidence to support the disability claim. The idea is that this cuts down on the time the VA has to spend gathering evidence, which in turn should speed up the decision time. In 2017, the VA took this fast rack idea a step further with Decision Ready Claims, which require the assistance of a veterans assistance organization, but come with a fantastic benefit to veterans: decisions in 30 days or less!
There are two ways to approach this fast-track claim, either WITH all of your needed evidence ready to submit, OR you can send the form to get started and provide the evidence later.
Either way, the onus remains on the veteran to provide the evidence, versus the standard and much longer procedure where the VA collects it on the veterans behalf.
If you choose to fast-track your disability claim, you will fill out a VA Form 21 526EZ. You will need a PDF reader on your computer to fill it out electronically, or you can print it out and fill it in by hand. If you are unable to access a computer with a printer, you can call 800-827-1000 to request that the form be mailed to you or you can request a copy at a local VA facility.
The VA will provide a medical examination for you if it is determined this is needed in order to make a decision on your disability claim.
Information About Family Members
- Social Security numbers and proof of age for each family member who may qualify for benefits and
- Proof of marriage, if your spouse is applying for benefits, as well as dates of prior marriages, if applicable.
If you don’t have all the documents you need, don’t delay filing for benefits. We will help you get the information you need.
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What Is A Claims File
A VA claims file, or C-File, is a collection of records kept by VA in connection to your VA disability claims. When a veteran first files a claim for benefits, VA will request the veterans service records along with any medical records that are relevant to the claim. As your claim progresses, and more evidence is submitted, your claims file will grow. It is crucial to have a copy of your C-file because it is what VA looks at when adjudicating your claims and appeals. You can request a copy of your claims file from VA through your local Regional Office. C-files used to be completely paper-based however, they now come in digital format on a CD.
If for some reason your claims file is missing, or if it was destroyed in the St. Louis Fire, VA has a heightened duty to recreate the file. Here, VA should obtain lay statements, new private opinions, and other forms of evidence that are necessary in proving your claim.
Am I Eligible For Va Disability Compensation
You may be eligible for VA disability benefits or compensation if you meet both of the requirements listed here.
Both of these must be true:
- You have a current illness or injury that affects your mind or body, and
- You served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training
And at least one of these must be true:
- You got sick or injured while serving in the militaryand can link this condition to your illness or injury , or
- You had an illness or injury before you joined the militaryand serving made it worse , or
- You have a disability related to your active-duty service that didnt appear until after you ended your service
- Qualified dependents
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You Can Also File A Disability Claim:
File your claim by mail using an Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits .
Print the form, fill it out, and send it to this address:
Department of Veterans Affairs
With the help of a trained professional
You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help filing a claim for disability compensation.Get help filing your claim