If you experienced a service-connected injury or illness resulting from your time in the military, you can likely qualify for Veterans’ disability benefits. This includes compensation for both physical ailments and certain mental health conditions.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a meticulous application process to obtain disability compensation. A Virginia Veterans’ disability lawyer can offer guidance and help you appeal your claim if you are unhappy with the decision. Whether you are in Arlington, Fairfax, or elsewhere, schedule a free consultation with a Fight4Vets attorney today to learn more.

Eligibility Requirements for VA Disability Benefits

To qualify for VA disability benefits, an applicant must have an existing service-connected illness or injury impacting the mind or body. In addition, he or she must have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.

There are three types of disability claims available. The first is an in-service disability claim for when a Veteran’s injury or illness resulted from his or her service. There is a pre-service disability claim, which is used when a Veteran has a pre-existing condition that was made worse by service. Lastly, when an injury or ailment does not manifest until after completing service, a Veteran can file a post-service disability claim.

Conditions That Qualify For Benefits

Applicants must prove that a health condition is connected to his or her service. Some examples of physical health conditions that could make a Veteran eligible for disability benefits include the following:

Veterans can also seek compensation for mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or mental trauma stemming from sexual abuse. A lawyer can help a Virginia Veteran near Fort Belvoir or Fort Myer identify which of his or her conditions are eligible for benefits.

Application Process and Determining Compensation

If a Veteran wishes to apply for VA disability compensation, he or she must first fill out an application to initiate their claim. They will also have to submit documentation to support the claim.

Documentation that can support a Veteran’s claim includes VA medical and hospital records, records from a private healthcare facility or physician, or supporting statements from family and friends, clergy, law enforcement, or other Veterans.

The specific type of evidence needed will vary based on the claim. At a basic level, it must show that the Veteran currently has a service-connected injury or illness. The evidence should also describe the incident or circumstances that caused the ailment, and the connection between that event and the patient’s condition. Certain conditions will require additional information and a VA medical exam, such as PTSD or claims related to military sexual trauma.

If approved, the level of compensation is determined based on the Veteran’s disability rating. The VA assigns a rating by gauging the seriousness or severity of the health condition. If a person has multiple disabilities, the VA uses a combined rating system to decide on compensation. A Virginia attorney can use the Veterans disability calculator to show the amount of benefits a person might be eligible to receive.

Appealing a VA Disability Claim

If a Veteran disagrees with the application decision or the claim is rejected altogether, the VA has a process allowing him or her to appeal the decision.

Applicants have a few options for appealing a disability claim. Supplemental claims allow an applicant to appeal a decision by submitting new and relevant evidence, or if he or she believes a review is warranted due to a change in law.

Alternatively, an applicant can pursue a higher-level review with a more experienced reviewer within one year from the initial decision date. However, no new evidence can be introduced from the original application.

A Veteran can also appeal the decision with a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. This process can involve a formal hearing in which the applicant presents evidence related to the case. A Veterans’ disability lawyer can help a Virginia applicant guide their client throughout the appeals process and help gather solid evidence when necessary.

Virginia Veterans Can Talk to a VA Disability Attorney Today About Your Benefits

After serving, many members of our armed services return to the nation’s capital region and settle down near Fort Myer or Fort Belvoir – but the scars of battle lead to financial difficulties. If you are a Veteran with existing physical or mental health conditions, you should speak with a Virginia Veterans’ disability lawyer about your eligibility for benefits.

Navigating the complex VA disability process alone could lead to a denial of your claim or inadequate compensation. Call to speak with one of our diligent attorneys today – we take clients from across the country and you do not pay us unless you are victorious in your pursuit of benefits.

Fight 4 Vets