If you’ve filed an appeal for your initial VA disability claim and are seeking representation from an attorney for your appeal, there are a few things you need to know about finding the best lawyer for you.
There are many reasons Veterans may be denied disability benefits, including:
- Insufficient medical evidence is provided in your initial claim.
- Your condition can’t be ruled as service-connected.
- Issues with deadlines or paperwork--incorrect forms cause immediate denial.
- Your condition is deemed pre-existing and not related to your service.
Even if you are deemed disabled by the VA, you may not receive a sufficient disability rating. Disability ratings range from 0% to 100% disabled, based on your combined service-connected conditions. A VA disability expert can help you increase your rating by showing a strong connection to your service, or can help you gather all relevant and new evidence in order to strengthen your case on appeal. An increase in your rating, in increments of 10%, will increase your monthly disability payment from the Veterans Administration. It’s important to include all service-connected injuries and illnesses in your filing for benefits so that you receive the correct rating for your benefits payouts.
In addition, an attorney can help you with secondary claims. Filing secondary claims can mean added effort and waiting on your part. It means more doctor visits, more documentation, and potential appeals. It can also lead to a disability rating you don’t feel matches your level of disability. Attorneys can act as an advocate on your behalf during this process.
A VA Disability Expert Can Also:
- Identify strategies to maximize your best pathway to winning your claim.
- Help navigate multiple claims or appeals.
- Appeal for a higher disability rating.
What is a VA Disability Expert?
Although many lawyers practice general law and touch on all practice areas, you must choose an attorney who’s an expert in VA disability in order to get the best possible results on your appeal. These attorneys choose to specialize in VA disability so that they can be the most effective at what they do for their clients. A VA disability expert is a lawyer who is accredited by the Veterans Administration, stays up to date on the changes in VA law, meets the basic continuing legal education requirements regarding VA disability, and is an authorized representative and advocate for you in your appeal.
What this means for you is that if you have received a lower rating than you expected in your initial disability claim, or were denied benefits completely, turning to a VA disability expert to advocate on your behalf will give you the best chance of a successful outcome on your appeal. Here at Affleck & Gordon, we specialize in disability cases, and have VA disability experts to help you win your appeal.
What Does it Mean to be VA Accredited?
The Veterans Administration provided VA accreditation to attorneys who are trained to handle all aspects of Veterans benefits. The purpose of VA accreditation isn’t a stamp of approval from the VA for all attorneys who wish to represent Veterans, but it does show that the lawyer has been trained to handle issues for Veterans, including appeals for denial of disability benefits. It also means that the attorney meets certain standards for conduct and receives the ongoing continuing legal education (CLE) credits regarding Veterans disability law.
Why Do I Need an Attorney for my VA Appeal?
There are three main reasons why retaining a VA accredited lawyer can help you. First, at Affleck & Gordon, all consultations regarding your case are free. Our VA disability experts can review the elements of your initial claim, find ways to strengthen your case, call in experts to testify on your behalf, and assess your doctors’ notes to make sure all bases are covered. If you received a rating lower than you expected, our qualified team can assist with compiling new evidence for your claim and will make sure that the language and verbiage a Veterans Law Judge is looking for.
Secondly, we only get paid if we win your case. This is called a contingency fee basis, which means that we are paid a percentage of your claim if you recover damages.
Thirdly, by having a VA disability expert working as an advocate for you on your appeal, you are more likely to win the benefits you deserve.
Facts About VA Disability
- If you receive a ratings decision from the VA, you have one year to file a notice of disagreement.
- Veterans who served in the Gulf War are entitled to the presumption that certain conditions were caused by their active service.
- A 100 rating for veterans disability pays $3057.13 per month. This means that a Veteran is 100% disabled.
- A 30 rating for veterans disability pays $493.55 per month for a disabled veteran with a spouse and no dependents.
- As of August, 2018, 4.7 million Veterans have a service related disability. This is approximately 25% of all Veterans.
- Veterans with service-connected or aging-related disabilities can also get help with housing costs and modifications. You can apply for a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) or Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant here.
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.