If you’re a Veteran with a VA disability claim, you may not begin the process by seeking out VA disability lawyers. However, if you’ve been denied disability, or receive a lower rating than you feel is fair considering the scope of your injuries and conditions, finding the right attorney for your claim can only help your chances of winning an appeal.
But where do you start? Many Veterans dive into their paperwork and medical records alone, only to grow discouraged as their claim stalls in the appeals process. If you’re finding yourself in that predicament, it may be time to reach out to VA disability lawyers--that is, attorneys who are certified by the Veterans Administration to handle appeals related to disability.
Begin by asking a series of questions so you fully understand your relationship with your lawyer as you go forward. Here are some important questions to ask before you choose the right attorney for your specific case.
What’s the Benefit of Having a Local Attorney for VA Disability?
Let’s face it--we all know that there are many, many lawyers to choose from. Should you go with a mega-firm with offices across the country? A “friend of a friend” lawyer who handles everything from traffic tickets to divorces? Or should you find local, VA disability lawyers who specialize in winning appeals for Veterans?
Finding VA disability lawyers near you is probably not as difficult as you may think. Most attorneys specialize in specific practice areas, so that they can become an expert in their field rather than a jack-of-all-trades. The same is true for Affleck & Gordon, a Georgia disability firm that handled cases for the disabled for over 45 years. We specialize in helping Veterans get the benefits that they deserve.
Even though the Veterans Administration is a federal program and all judges who handle VA disability cases are in Washington, D.C., you can still greatly benefit from working with a local disability firm to handle your appeal. A local law firm is personable, comfortable, and knowledgeable about VA disability, and knows the ins-and-outs of filing the correct paperwork relevant to your specific case. They’re invested in the communities that they service, and are therefore invested in you and your case, too.
What’s the Best Path Forward For My Specific Case?
Every injured or ill Veteran finds their own path to receive benefits for their disabilities. This is because unlike other government programs for the disabled, the Veterans Administration itemizes every injury or chronic illness related to your service independently. You may qualify for benefits based on your physical conditions (like a chronic injury or illness) and mental health conditions (like PTSD) that developed before, during, or after your time of service.
If you disagree with a VA decision dated February 19, 2019 or later, you can now choose from three different levels of review; a supplemental claim, a higher-level review, or a board appeal. A supplemental claim can be the addition of an illness or injury not included in the original claim, or if you have new supporting evidence that wasn’t included in the original claim. A higher-level review doesn’t have additional supporting evidence, but is to be filed if you and your legal team believe that the original decision was made in error. In a board appeal, a Veterans Law judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals will review your decision.
What Medical Records Do I Need to Strengthen my Claim?
Because of the complexities of appealing a claim and filing additional claims, it’s important that you have the best representation on your side to make sure you receive the outcome you deserve, including the correct rating for your medical conditions. This means making sure that you have the right medical records to strengthen your claim. It’s also important that you see a physician who specifically evaluates impairments, and the limitations resulting from your injury or illness. These physicians have experience working with VA disability and will use the correct verbiage to show the connection between your time in service and your condition. If you’re not already seeing a doctor with VA experience, the right legal team can make recommendations based on their experience, as well.
How Much Do You Charge?
Thirty-one percent of VA disability claims are denied. If you’re one of the thousands of veterans denied disability benefits each year, the right legal team can advise you, help you file appeals, assist you with proper and complete documentation, and fight by your side as you navigate your next steps.
The law specifically protects Veterans with regard to legal fees. Before 2007, Veterans weren’t allowed to employ legal representation by attorneys regarding their disability claim. Veterans groups and other advocacy groups petitioned Congress to change the laws to create protections for the rights of Veterans. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We can quickly determine if we can help you win your case. We’re only paid if we win.
What’s Your Experience with My Specific Condition?
Experienced VA disability lawyers will have a broad range of case histories similar to yours, where a newer, less experienced firm will not. It’s important to ask tough questions of your potential legal partner to make sure that they are the right match for you. For example, if your claims involve both physical and mental ailments, or if you have multiple supplemental claims, it’s important to partner with a firm experienced with similar situations. Let their experience work for you to help you win your appeal.
At Affleck & Gordon, helping veterans receive their disability benefits is a primary area of practice. Serving Metro Atlanta and the greater Columbus/Phenix City area, the attorneys with Affleck & Gordon care deeply for their clients and assist them with problems that may arise with their disability claim.