For decades, the veterans’ benefits lawyers at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law have helped our nation’s veterans obtain disability benefits. Here are some of the questions we often receive regarding benefits for veterans.
Q: How do we take care of veterans and their families?
A: The government offers many benefits to veterans such as disability benefits and pensions, education benefits, home loan guaranties, mental health and substance abuse treatment, vocational and small business services, medical and dental care, nursing home services and burial and cemetery services. These are overseen by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA). Disability compensation is a tax-free benefit paid to veterans for disabilities related to injuries or diseases that developed or were aggravated by military service.
Q: How do I apply for veterans’ benefits?
A: For healthcare benefits, you will first need to fill out an enrollment form (VA Form 10-10EZ), which is available at VA medical facilities, regional benefits offices, on the VA website or by calling 1-877-222-VETS. Veterans also can apply for insurance, compensation, education, vocational rehabilitation and pension benefits on the VA website. If you’d prefer to speak with someone over the phone, call 1-800-827-1000 for questions about enrollment, compensation, pension or vocational rehabilitation; 1-888-GI-BILL-1 for questions about education; or 1-800-829-4833 if you are hearing impaired
Q: What records are necessary when filing a claim?
A: In order to adequately support your claim, you will need to provide military service records and any medical examinations and treatment records both from VA medical facilities and private health care providers. In some cases, the VA may ask you to receive a medical examination if needed to help them reach a decision.
Q: How long does it take for a disability claim to be processed?
A: The length of time depends on a variety of factors based on the complexity of the claim. But generally, it takes at least eight to twelve months or more between the time a veteran files for disability benefits and the time he or she receives a decision on the claim.
Q: Why is the care of veterans more complicated and challenging today than in the past?
A: Healthcare improvements have saved the lives of some veterans who may not have survived in the past. Those veterans face a lifetime with chronic disabilities. According to the VA, about 35 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan file claims for disabilities, often citing multiple disabilities. Additionally, an increasing number of veterans reopen their claims because of chronic progress disabilities such as diabetes.
Q: How does the VA decide the level of monthly compensation for veterans?
A: The VA has a rating percentage scale for each disability or condition that has been proven to be the result of military service. The basic disability benefit ranges from $123 to $2,673 per month, depending on the severity of the disability. For some conditions, the maximum level of compensation is 100 percent.
Q: I’m considering an appeal because I disagree with my disability rating. How long will an appeal take?
A: Again, this is determined by the complexity of your appeal and how much evidence must be gathered. However, when decisions are appealed, the process can take an average of 25 months to complete.
Q: My service-related disability has gotten worse since I received my disability evaluation. What should I do?
A: We recommend that you file a claim for further evaluation of a current disability that has worsened. To accomplish this, first write a letter specifying that the disability has worsened and include any medical evidence that supports your claim for an increased disability evaluation. The completed VA Form 21-4138 or letter can then be mailed to your VA regional office.
Q: As the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran, am I eligible for compensation benefits?
A: Spouses of deceased veterans may be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation if the veteran died on active duty or as the result of a disability related to military service. If you meet the financial requirements, you may be eligible to receive Death Pension benefits provided your spouse served during a wartime.
If you think you may be eligible for disability benefits, or if you disagree with the VA’s decision about your claim, contact us today. We advocate for veterans at every step in the application and appeals process and are experienced at avoiding roadblocks that delay the process.