It’s no secret that the VA Disability process is confusing. There isn’t a lot of information available, and much of the information that is available is outdated or incorrect. This becomes even more evident when our attorneys and staff discuss back pay with Veterans.
Many Veterans aren’t aware they can receive back pay for their claims. In most cases, a Veteran will receive back pay from the date their claim was originally filed. So, if you filed your claim in December of 2016, and you get approved in May 2018, you should receive back pay for those 17 months. If you filed as a single Veteran with no dependents, and you are approved in 2018, you should receive $1,365.48 per month for your disabilities. The VA pays you back pay because they should have been paying you that amount every month since you filed. In this case, they will compensate you for the 17 months you should have been paid at 70%. In this example, that equals $23,213.16. (The amount may vary based on the cost of living adjustments and a few other adjustments, but this amount is an accurate estimate.)
A situation involving one of our clients is a good example. This Veteran was attempting to pursue his benefits claim on his own. He filed early in 2011, then was denied later in the year. He filed an appeal through the mail and thought the VA had received it, but they hadn’t. A year passed after he received his initial decision. The VA didn’t receive an appeal, so they closed his case. This caused the Veteran to lose his original back pay date.
This is one of the many reasons we are adamant about Veterans filing appeals before they expire. This Veteran was service-connected at 100%, and his back pay date reset to when we reopened his case. Because the VA did not receive his appeal, he possibly lost out on thousands of dollars in back pay. When our firm represents a Veteran, we obtain confirmation notices from the VA. These notices let us know that the VA received the appeal. If necessary, we can use a confirmation notice to argue and prove an effective date.
What happens with back pay when you’ve been granted a specific percentage for a claim, but want to appeal the decision to receive a higher rating? Many Veterans believe that they won’t get the back pay if they appeal, or that they will stop receiving their monthly benefit. That’s not true. For instance; if you filed a claim for PTSD and the VA rated you at 30%, but you think you should be rated at 70%, you can file an appeal and not lose your back pay or your monthly compensation. If the VA then finds that you should have been rated at 70% the whole time, they will pay you additional back pay and adjust your monthly compensation going forward. You won’t lose what the VA has already paid, and you will still receive your monthly compensation while they are processing your appeal.
VA Disability is confusing. It takes years to master, and it’s difficult to pursue alone. You have several options when it comes to VA Disability representation. However, thousands of Veterans have selected Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law to help them get the benefits they deserve. We’re not volunteers. We have a vested interested in your case. We’re passionate about helping Veterans, and we’d love the opportunity to discuss your case in detail. Call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk at a later time, fill out this form so we can call you at a better time.