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What Exactly Is Veterans’ Disability, and How Does Someone Qualify for It?
If you’ve been in the military and wound up with a physical or mental health condition due to the normal requirements of the service, you might be able to seek financial aid through benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The VA defines a disability according to the ADA: ”a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability.”
This language is not incredibly specific, but the VA bases its decisions on criteria that are founded on this definition.
In many cases, people who believe they should qualify for benefits may not be granted eligibility by the VA. Other times, the level of benefits offered may not match the level of actual need. If you’re struggling with medical or therapy bills, the readjustment to civilian life, pain and suffering, difficulty finding adequate work, or any other difficulty that comes with a disability from military service, seeking help from an experienced Florida VA disability lawyer can help seek you the benefits you need to recover as quickly as possible.
How Do I Know If I Qualify for VA Disability?
In order to qualify for VA disability compensation, you must have a (1) current illness or injury that affects your mind or body, and (2) have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. Further, one of the following must also be true:
- An injury or illness started while serving in the military and either continued or is linked to ongoing injuries or illnesses
- An illness or injury you had before serving in the military was exacerbated by serving
- Your illness or injury began after your service ended but can still be linked to your service
The VA does not grant benefits to anyone who has received other-than-honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharge. In these cases, you may need to first fight to have your discharge upgraded or go through the VA’s Character of the Discharge review process.
Covered Conditions Under VA Disability
The benefits offered by VA disability benefits cover conditions that include but are not limited to:
- Hearing loss
- Chronic pain
- Mobility difficulties
- Some cancers
- Some lung conditions
- Brain injuries
Not every condition covered by VA disability benefits is obvious. In some cases, you will need to provide ample evidence to support the claim that an illness or injury qualifies as a disability and was also caused or exacerbated due to your military service. Getting the advice and assistance of a seasoned Florida disability attorney can help you make your case.
The severity of your disability is calculated on a sliding scale out of 100%, and it represents how badly your disability affects your health and ability to engage in normal activities like work and travel. This rating is determined by a culmination of evidence, including evidence provided by the applicant, like a doctor’s report or test results, as well as the results of a VA claim exam, along with any other relevant information. If you have multiple disabilities, they will be combined and increase your overall disability rating. More information about disability ratings, including a rating calculator, can be found on the VA’s website.
VA Disability Rating Compensation Rates
If your disability rating is 10%, your maximum monthly payment is $144.14. If your disability rating is 20%, your maximum monthly payment is $284.93. These are the rates regardless of your spouse, dependant, or parental status. At 30% to 100%, having a spouse, parents, or children does increase the monthly payment you’re eligible for. The amount of financial assistance you can acquire can be determined through the charts and guides found here.
It should be clear at this point that the disability rating assigned to you by the VA has a huge impact on the benefits you’re eligible to receive. Fighting for the maximum benefits you deserve can be difficult, and it requires a lot of evidence and preparation, which can be hard to muster when you’re already dealing with a disability due to your service. Getting help from an experienced disability attorney can help your chances of receiving the highest level of compensation possible.
Other Benefits Offered by the VA
More specific benefits can be granted to veterans with service-related injuries if they are eligible, such as for vets with mobility restrictions or low income.
Many veterans suffer from a disability that limits their mobility and thus need to make a lot of adjustments to their housing accommodations in order to reduce the difficulties such a condition can bring. In some cases, you may be eligible to receive a housing grant from the VA for certain modifications to your place of living.
A grant for Specially Adapted Housing or a Special Housing Adaptation can help finance some of these necessary changes to help keep your home livable. These grants can, alternatively, be used to build a new home with the specifications you need, install ramps, expand door frames, and make any other adjustments to a home to enable independent living. In some cases, you can also use a Temporary Residence Adaptation to make changes to a relative’s home that you are living in temporarily.
Veterans with service-related injuries may also be eligible to receive a tax-free pension for themselves and their survivors. These monthly payments are typically only granted based on financial needs, time in the service, and age. The VA offers a handy calculator tool for determining the pension rates for veterans and their survivors.
Get Legal Help for Any Veterans’ Disability Concerns
If you have a disability associated with your time in the services, you might be eligible for benefits that can help you recover and adapt to civilian life. Whether you’re suffering from physical or mental conditions, you deserve to have your case heard and to get the benefits you need. Getting help from an experienced Florida disability attorney can help you navigate the tricky claims process and find you the maximum financial aid possible.
Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd have been helping Florida’s veterans for decades and are dedicated to every client we take on. If you’re struggling against the VA to get the compensation you deserve or are just starting your claim now, we are here to help. Give us a call at 866-460-1990 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.
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