As a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, you went bravely into harm’s way to fulfill your mission. You honored the Marine Corps’ motto, “Semper Fi” – always faithful. As a Marine veteran, you have a right to expect your country to keep the faith, too, if you have disabilities related to your time in the Corps and you need help. But qualifying for veterans’ disability compensation can be a challenge – even for a Marine. This is why you should call the Marine veterans’ disability lawyers at our firm. Let our team help you get the compensation you deserve.
There are three primary criteria that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) considers when determining whether a former Marine qualifies for disability benefits. First and foremost, these benefits are only available to individuals who served on active duty and were discharged from the Marine Corps under honorable conditions. Active duty training and inactive duty training also qualify as “active duty service” for the purposes of veterans’ disability benefits.
Next, a former servicemember seeking VA disability benefits must prove that his or her injury or illness is “service-connected.” This is known as establishing a medical nexus. Importantly, service-connected does not necessarily mean a disability “occurred during service.” In addition to in-service disability claims, the VA also accepts claims for pre-service disabilities that significantly worsened due to active duty service, as well as post-service claims for disabilities that appeared after service but as a direct result of service-related conditions.
Finally, an applicant must receive a disability rating for their condition from the VA that qualifies them for benefits. The VA rates disabilities on a scale from zero percent to 100 percent, with a zero percent rating meaning that an applicant’s injury or illness does not impact his or her ability to hold employment and perform daily tasks. Especially severe and permanent conditions that leave a servicemember in need of daily assistance for the rest of his or her life may allow for additional Special Monthly Compensation.
Several types of benefits are available to Marine veterans for disabilities related to injuries or diseases that developed during active military service or were made worse by military service. Many Marine Corps veterans may suffer hearing loss from repeated exposure to weapons, aircraft, vehicles, and industrial activities, entitling them to disability compensation from the VA.
Marine and Navy veterans alike are at higher risk of developing certain kinds of respiratory-related diseases because of asbestos, toxic fumes, and vapors commonly found on Navy ships.
The VA generally focuses on medical records and diagnoses from health care professionals when determining whether a veteran is eligible for disability compensation, so former Marines who want to apply for VA benefits should be prepared with as much formal documentation regarding their condition as possible. In addition to records from the VA and/or military hospital treatment, successful applications may also include private medical records and reports detailing what symptoms an applicant suffers from and how they have progressed over time, as well as written testimony from friends, family members, and other colleagues illustrating how the applicant’s disability has impacted their personal and professional life.
It is also crucial for former Marines to include their DD-214 discharge form or whatever other documentation they have to indicate their discharge status upon separation from the Marine Corps. A lawyer experienced in handling VA disability claims on behalf of Marine veterans can provide essential assistance in gathering and efficiently submitting relevant evidence for a strong claim.
Marine veterans who served in Southwest Asia in the Gulf War and have symptoms of undiagnosed illnesses may apply for disability compensation regardless of whether they can directly trace their injuries or illnesses to operations in Desert Storm or Desert Shield.
The lawyers at our firm are skilled at helping U.S. Marine veterans establish their entitlement to disability benefits. If you believe you may qualify for compensation from the VA based on a service-related injury or condition, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced Marine veterans’ disability lawyer.