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Q: What are veterans’ disability benefits?
A: Veterans disability benefits are a form of compensation provided to veterans based on an injury or illness that either occurred during or was made worse by service in the military. Pre-existing injuries or illnesses that were aggravated by military service are also covered. Although most service-connected disabilities show up during or soon after military service, some conditions may not appear until many years later. Compensation is based on the degree of a veteran’s disability, known as the disability rating, and is paid out monthly.
Q: What types of claims are there?
A: There are various types of claims disabled veterans can file based on their unique circumstances. These may include claims based on disabilities that were present when a veteran entered the military (pre-service disability), disabilities that occurred during active service (in-service disabilities), and disabilities that developed after a veteran left the military (post-service disabilities). Other types of claims include pre-discharge claims (for military members within 180 days of separation or retirement) and claims based on special circumstances.
Q: Who can apply for VA disability compensation?
A: A veteran, spouse or surviving spouse, and children/dependents are eligible. However, the VA is authorized to define the eligibility requirements for each type of benefit. The VA defines and qualifies what constitutes a spouse, and sets conditions and limitations for surviving spouses, children and dependents.
Q: How do I start a claim for veterans benefits?
A: You can now apply online. The VA recommends this option as an easy way to submit and track your claim. Alternatively, you can visit a VA Regional Office where staff can assist you. Be sure to bring with you any supporting evidence for your claim to avoid any unnecessary delays. You can also complete the application yourself and mail it into your nearest VA Regional Office.
Q: What evidence do I need to support my claim for VA benefits?
A: Supporting evidence will of course vary depending on the type of benefit for which you are applying. Generally, though, you will at least need:
Discharge or separation papers (DD214 or equivalent)
Service Treatment Records if they are in your possession
Medical evidence (doctor & hospital reports)
Dependency records (marriage and/or children’s birth certificate) if applying for dependency benefits
Q: What can I do if I receive a decision denying my claim?
A: You must file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with the VA letting them know that you dispute the decision they reached on all or part of your claim. You have up to a year from the date of the VA’s decision, but it is recommended that you file this as soon as possible to eliminate any unnecessary delay in the appeal of your claim. Once this Notice of Disagreement is filed, the Law Firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd may be able to represent you in correcting the errors made in the initial decision, so you get the VA benefits you deserve.
Q: What can I do if I believe my disability is more serious than what the VA rated it?
A: You have the right to file an appeal if you are unhappy with the decision reached by a local VA office. If you believe you received an unfair disability decision or rating, our legal team can help you file an appeal. Although you are not legally required to have an attorney when appealing a veterans disability benefits decision, working with an experienced attorney increases your chances of being successful and can relieve the stress and difficulty of the process.
Q: When should I hire a VA disability lawyer?
A: The sooner the better. The VA disability claims and appeals process is extremely complicated and technical. Every statement made will be closely scrutinized by the claims analyst. An experienced attorney will be able to present the case in a manner that is most favorable to the disabled veteran. According to a 2012 report from the VA Board of Veterans’ Appeals, those who file veterans disability claims without the assistance of a lawyer are more than twice as likely to be denied than veterans who have legal assistance.
Q: How much does a VA disability lawyer cost?
A: The VA realizes that the claims and appeals processes may last years. If your appeal is granted, then you receive compensation that is retroactive to the beginning of your original claim. This retroactive payment is provided in a lump sum. When you are represented by the Law Firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, the VA deducts 20 percent of this lump sum for the payment of legal fees. (Note: Lawyers wishing to charge more than 20 percent must collect their entire fee directly from the veteran they have represented. We refuse to charge more than 20 percent.) We never collect a fee unless we win your claim for benefits.
Q: How can the Law Firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd help?
A: When you choose to work with our firm, you benefit from the following:
Personalized, step-by-step guidance through the veterans disability appeal process.
Knowledgeable veterans’ advocates who are familiar with complex VA regulations. VA regulations and laws span more than 2,000 pages.
Assistance with gathering evidence that supports your claim, including medical records and various forms and documentation.
Call today 866-460-1990 for more information about filing an appeal for your Veterans’ Disability claim. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our veterans disability attorneys have the experience you need to secure the benefits you deserve.
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