If you served in the military and have a health condition related to your service, you might be entitled to disability benefits. Your disability does not have to prevent you from working, but it must impose some limitations on your life.
A Beckley veterans’ disability lawyer can explain the benefits you are entitled to receive in your specific circumstances and help compile the information for your application. If the Veterans’ Administration (VA) has denied an application for benefits or assigned a disability rating you believe is too low, an experienced attorney can help you appeal the decision.
A person could qualify for veterans’ disability benefits if they served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard, and their discharge status was not dishonorable. Disability benefits are available for any health condition that currently affects the veteran and resulted from, or was made worse by, his or her military service.
The VA will presume some conditions, such as tropical diseases and Agent Orange exposure, resulted from military service. Conditions related to or resulting from combat wounds are clearly service-related. In other cases, the service member must provide a doctor’s report confirming the veteran’s diagnosis and stating that the condition is related to the veteran’s time in the military.
When the VA approves an application, it applies a disability rating. This is expressed as a percentage between zero and 100 percent disabled. The higher the disability rating, the larger the veteran’s monthly payment. If a disability rating is 30 percent or higher, the veteran could be eligible for additional benefits if he or she has dependent children, parents, or a disabled spouse.
The VA bases the disability rating on a formula that assigns each diagnosis code a particular rating. Each service-related condition the veteran suffers from gets a disability rating, and the combined ratings of all their disabilities dictate the amount of payment.
In some cases, the veteran’s service-related conditions prevent him or her from earning a reasonable living, even though the veteran’s disability rating is not 100 percent. If the veteran cannot get or keep a job that provides compensation that exceeds the poverty level, he or she could qualify for Individual Unemployability benefits. This program pays the veteran as if his or her disability rating was 100 percent.
Any mental or physical service-related condition, or combination of service-related conditions, could qualify a veteran for this benefit. However, if the veteran has one service-related condition, it must carry at least a 60 percent disability rating. If the veteran has two or more service-related conditions, one must have at least a 40 percent disability rating, and the combined rating must be at least 70 percent. A Beckley attorney who handles veterans’ disability claims can further explain these rules.
Each disability claim a veteran submits will have an effective date, which is usually the date the VA received it. The effective date is critical because if the claim is approved, the veteran will collect benefits retroactively to the effective date. Veterans who delay submitting a claim lose the money they are entitled to receive.
Some veterans have several service-related conditions and must submit separate claims for each. Thus, it is likely that different claims will have different effective dates.
Claims could take several months to process after the VA receives them. A veteran’s attorney could request an expedited process if the veteran is over 75, homeless, has a terminal illness, or in cases of financial hardship.
If you were in the military and are still suffering health impacts related to your service, you have the right to veterans’ disability benefits. Any physical or emotional condition that resulted from your service or worsened while you were serving could merit compensation.
Work with a Beckley veterans’ disability claims attorney to ensure you get the maximum compensation you are entitled to. Call today to speak to a dedicated member of our team.