Veterans Disability

Who qualifies for Veterans Disability benefits?

Any service member who was injured or contracted a disease while on active duty in the U.S. military and honorably discharged is eligible for veterans disability benefits. The injury or disease could have occurred during service, or may have emerged afterwards, and while it might obvious to you that the disability is a result of your military service, sometimes the VA will deny the claim anyway. If that happens to you or someone you know, call Hale Law Office at 1-800-522-4595 for your FREE Consultation with accredited veterans disability attorney Roger Hale, with over 27 years legal experience

Obtaining VA Disability Benefits After Military Service

Serving your country in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard can lead to life changing injuries or illnesses that affect the quality of your life. At Hale Law Office P.L.L.C, veterans disability attorney Roger Hale has an expert legal team that works together to fight for the rights of disabled veterans who are being denied VA disability benefits. Whether the VA is denying your disability benefits claim based on lack of evidence, or you are a surviving spouse of a deceased service person and the VA is not allowing your DIC claims, our veterans disability law office can help. Serving disabled veterans nationwide, disability attorney Roger Hale has over 27 years of experience working in the field of veterans disability law.

Veterans Disability Benefits

The purpose of VA disability benefits is to provide monetary compensation to U.S. military personnel who were injured or contracted a disease while on active duty. Veterans disability benefits cover a wide range of benefits for the veteran and his family, but often, these benefits are denied the disabled veteran or his surviving family. Working with an experienced veterans disability attorney who understands the laws and regulations surrounding VA disability benefits is extremely important. It is best to begin working with an attorney from the time you first file your claim. At Hale Law Office, you are NEVER charged anything for assistance in filing your disability benefits claim or seeking to reopen or increase a claim.  Veterans disability attorney Roger Hale can also help you appeal a denial with the filing of a "Notice of Disagreement" or a substantive appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA).  If needed, veterans disability benefits attorney Roger Hale will appeal your claim to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) or Federal Court all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a veteran, you and your family deserve VA Benefits and financial support for serving the country, don't give up fighting for your veterans disability benefits.

Dependency Compensation

Spouses of military personnel are entitled to benefits should active duty result in the death of the service member. If you're loved one died while serving, or died as a result of injuries or illness that were caused by military service, then disability attorney Roger Hale can help you file a claim for benefits, or file an appeal on a denied claim. These benefits are intended to help the spouse and surviving children cover financial responsibilities. Call veterans disability attorney Roger Hale at 1-800-522-4595  for a FREE consultation regarding your VA disability benefits case and find out how we can work to get you the veterans benefits you deserve.

How to Apply for Disability Benefits

There are several ways to apply for VA disability benefits. Depending on the type of benefit you are claiming, and depending on the complexity of your case, you can apply any of the following ways:

1. Online: On the Veterans Administration website you can sign up for an eBenefits account and submit an application for benefits online. The e-version of this application form is called the Veterans’ Online Application (VONAPP). By applying online, you can also upload all of the required evidence. If you still have not obtained some of the necessary medical reports, you can open your claim online and upload the rest of the medical reports later when you receive them. As long as you upload the evidence within one year of opening your claim, the VA will recognize the date of your online application as your claim date.  You can go to www.va.gov and find the information you need to file online. I strongly suggest that the disabled veteran open an "eBenefits" Free Premium account. This will allow you to file your application for benefits as well as to follow the progress of your claim and even submit evidence. Click HERE to open your eBenefits account.

2. By Mail: Fill out a Veteran’s Application for Compensation and/or Pension (VA Form 21-526EZ), and mail it to your nearest VA regional office along with copies of your medical reports and other evidence.  You can find your local VA Regional Office by clicking HERE.

3. In Person: Go to your VA regional office and ask for assistance in applying. If you have records that support your claim, you should bring them with you. Again, to find your VA Regional Office, just click HERE.

4. Work with an accredited veterans disability attorney. The VA encourages veterans to work with an accredited disability attorney because these individuals are specifically trained in the proper veterans disability claims procedure, and can usually help minimize errors.

The Claims Process

After you apply for your VA benefits, either by submitting the application yourself or with the assistance of an experienced veterans disability attorney, your claim will go into the VA disability claims system. Once it is in the system, the claim will go through eight additional steps before you get your first check:

Step 1: Claim Received: If you applied online, you should receive notice of receipt within one hour. If you apply through the U.S. mail, it takes about a week for the VA to record receipt of your claim.

Step 2: Under Review: The claim will be assigned to an officer and reviewed for completeness.

Step 3: Gathering Evidence: The VA claims office will ask for additional documentation such as medical reports or discharge papers.

Step 4: Evidence Review: If more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back to Step 3 to obtain more documentation.

Step 5: Preparation for Decision: The VA rating officer has made a decision on the case, and is completing the paperwork.

Step 6: Pending Decision/Approval: A final award approval is made.

Step 7: Preparation for Notification: The claim decision packet is prepared for mailing

Step 8: Complete or "Closed": The VA sends a decision packet to you by U.S. mail.

Many people find that their claim gets stalled or bogged down at some point during this process. As your veterans disability attorney, Roger Hale can track the status of your claim, discuss evidence requirements with the VA representative, and help make sure your veterans disability claim moves through the system as quickly as possible. If your veterans disability benefits claim is stalled, call experienced Veterans Disability Attorney Roger Hale for a FREE consultation at 1-800-522-4595 or Contact Us by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Types of Injuries that Qualify for VA Benefits

Qualifying Physical Injuries

Almost any type of service-related injury can qualify you for VA disability benefits. The VA recognizes a long list of physical and psychological injuries and diseases. These include fractures, spinal cord injuries, muscle injuries, nerve injuries, dental problems, hearing impairment and tinnitus, chronic fatigue syndrome, PTSD, foot problems and heart problems, to name just a few. The VA has guidelines for evaluating:

  • Gulf War Syndrome
  • Agent Orange
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Medical Malpractice/Negligence
  • Injuries while in voc-rehab or physical therapy

A comprehensive list of many of the common recognized injuries is available on the VA website. If your injury is not listed, don’t assume that you don’t qualify for veterans disability benefits. If you can show that your problem was service-related, you can obtain benefits. Contact veterans disability attorney Roger Hale at 1-800-522-4595 to discuss your claim.

Types of Claims

The VA may recognize claims based on pre-service, in-service, or post-service injuries, or based on special circumstances:

  • Claims Based on Pre-Service Disabilities: Some members of the military enter the service with a previously identified disability, what is sometimes called a pre-existing injury. If this injury gets worse while you are in the military, the VA may award you disability benefits. However, the amount of compensation will be based only on the level of aggravation of the disability.
  • Claims Based on In-Service Disabilities: Claims based on injuries or illness caused from active service in the line of duty. Disabilities resulting from willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs are excluded.
  • Claims Based on Post-Service Disabilities: These are disabilities that you did not know about until after the period of military service. It is necessary to prove that these claims are service-related. However, some post-service disability claims may be “presumed” to be service-related. In some cases—veterans complaining of Gulf War Syndrome, Agent Orange, mustard gas exposure, radiation exposure, or former POWs—may benefit from the presumption that the injury or illness is service-related.
  • Claims Based on Special Circumstances: These are other types of claims that a veteran or surviving spouse may file. These could be a claim for a temporary 100% rating due to surgery for a service-connected disability, or additional compensation based on a need for regular aid and attendance.

Call veterans disability Attorney Roger Hale at 1-800-522-4595 to determine if the type and timing of your injury could qualify you for VA benefits.

Don’t Make These Mistakes

Veterans that submit their own applications for disability benefits usually encounter problems along the way that can significantly slow down the process. In the worst case, the application might be stalled a long time, or even denied. An experienced veterans disability attorney can make sure that your application is complete, and can prevent or overcome the following common issues: Incomplete Applications, incomplete or not "enough" evidence, medical nexus reports and other important documentation of your service related injury or illness.

The initial application must be filled out either online, mailed in, or submitted at a VA regional office using the proper VA approved Form. Many times the applicant does not fill out the application correctly, or does not include the needed documents, or just does not use the proper forms. Don’t let your application get denied because of a simple mistake, call disability attorney Roger Hale and let us lead you though the process.

Incomplete Evidence

This is the most common mistake that disabled veterans make. The VA disability application form requires specific information and evidence. If any of these are missing, the claim can be denied. Even if a VA representative helps you to fill out the application, these officials do not always have time to make sure that your claim is complete. You must take control of your application, and submit more evidence than what is asked for. The minimum required evidence is:

  • Discharge or separation papers (DD214 or equivalent).
  • Service Treatment Records if they are in your possession.
  • Medical evidence (doctor & hospital reports). These reports can sometimes be difficult to get.

Lost Medical Records

Sometimes you will not have access to your Military Service Treatment Records or other medical evidence. The VA is required to assist you in getting necessary records from any federal agency, such as military records, Social Security records, or VA medical records. In November 2000, Congress passed the Veterans Claims Assistance Act (VCAA) to define what the VA’s responsibilities are in assisting claimants in obtaining evidence to support a claim. This law also defines your responsibilities in obtaining evidence.

Even though the VA must obtain records on your behalf, you cannot assume that the government just “remembers” your previous medical treatment. You must specifically identify which records exist out there, and authorize the VA to get the records for you. If you fail to tell the VA about existing medical records, it will not go looking for them. You are required to provide any records from state or local governments, private doctors and hospitals, or current or former employers. Even though the VA is supposed to help you get records, at the end of the day the responsibility for really making it happen still lies with you.

Failing to Prove the Injury Is Service-Related

If the VA can claim that your injury or illness is not service-related, they probably will. Often, illnesses and injuries arise after the time of service, but were caused by diseases, toxic exposure or other injuries that occurred while on active duty. If you cannot show that the injury was caused by the military service, your claim will be denied even though it is perfectly valid. An experienced veterans disability attorney like Roger Hale, will make sure that your veterans disability claim is properly presented, and that the service connection is correctly explained.

Taking Bad Advice

As all veterans know, the government often delivers the run-around. Even though representatives at the VA are supposed to help you with your claim, they don’t know all the details of your situation and sometimes just don't care. Sometimes the advice they provide the disabled veteran is just plain wrong. If you need to apply for veterans disability benefits, it is best to contact a veterans disability attorney to plan and guide your case properly. Don’t let these common problems stop you from getting the veteran disability benefits that are rightfully owed to you. Contact Roger Hale, an experienced VA disability attorney at 1-800-522-4595 to get your case going.

Appealing Your Case

If your veterans disability benefits claim was denied, or if you disagree with any part of the decision, contact Roger Hale, an experienced veterans disability attorney, right away to start your appeal process. You have one year from the date that you were notified of the VA Regional Office decision to file your "Notice of Disagreement" to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (“the BVA” or “the Board”). The BVA is a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), located in Washington, D.C. This appeals board reviews decisions made by regional offices and issues a new decision.

Appealable Decisions

Any decision issued by a VA regional office regarding a veterans disability benefits claim can be appealed. Some determinations by VA medical facilities, such as eligibility for medical treatment, may also be appealed. You may appeal a complete or partial denial of your claim or you may appeal the level of benefit granted. For example, if the local office awarded you a 20% disability, but you believe that you are more than 20% disabled, you may appeal that determination to the board. Denials of benefits for surviving children or a surviving spouse can also be appealed. These include DIC and "accrued benefits" type claims, or trying to prove that the service members death was due to a service related injury or illness.

Non-Appealable Decisions

Some decisions cannot be appealed. The BVA has no legal authority to issue orders or decisions regarding matters that are not under its jurisdiction. For example, a physician’s decision to prescribe a drug or order a specific type of treatment is not within the board’s jurisdiction.

Appeals Checklist

Your veterans disability lawyer can submit your appeal for you. Generally the process is:

  1. Send your notice of appeal to the local VA office that received your claim within one year of receiving the decision.
  2. Your local VA office will then send you a “Statement of the Case,” which is a summary of the reasons for its ruling. Fill out and send back the VA Form 9 within 60 days.
  3. Upon receipt of VA Form 9, the VA office will send the claim to the Board of Veteran’s Appeals. You will have 90 days to submit additional evidence or request a hearing.
  4. The board will review your appeal, conduct a hearing, and issue a decision.

If your appeal is denied by the BVA, there may still be additional appeals available, contact an experienced veterans disability attorney to learn your rights. It may be possible to file another appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. You can also submit various motions to the Board of Veterans Appeals, or reopen the case at your local VA office. Depending on your case, a denial does not necessarily mean that your case is hopeless. A VA disability attorney can evaluate whether you should appeal, and guide you through the process. Call Hale Law Office, P.L.L.C. at 1-800-522-4595 to speak with Roger Hale, an experienced VA disability attorney.

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