VETERAN'S DISABILITY BENEFITS

The United States of Veteran Affairs offers benefits for those with disabilities as a result of their military service.  They also offer a pension for disabled wartime veterans but only if they have limited income and are disabled or over 65 years of age.    The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers many other benefits for veterans, service members and their families.  To see all of the benefits available, you should go to the VA website.  You can find the website link at the bottom of this page. 

In this section, I will explain who qualifies for VA benefits and discuss the new legislation recently passed that will allow veterans to hire attorneys to help in their pursuit of VA disability benefits. 

Eligibility
To be eligible for VA benefits you must be a veteran, a veteran's dependent, a surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased veteran, an active duty service member, or a member of the reserve or national guard.

Veteran Compensation Benefits
If you are at-least 10 percent disabled as a result of your military service, the VA can pay you monthly compensation.  The amount of VA benefits paid is dependent on the percentage of disability.  In other words, if the VA finds you 10% disabled, you would get less money than if they found you 80% disabled.  Remember, the disability must be "service connected".

Three Part Test
To get VA compensation benefits for service connected disability, there is a three part test. 
First, you must have a disability at the present time that has been diagnosed medically. 
Second, there must have been a disease, injury or event in the service. 
Third,  there must be a nexus.  This means that the current medical condition is related to the in service medical condition.  This may include disabilities that are secondary conditions, due to a disability that is service connected. 

Veteran Pension Benefits
You can receive a monthly pension if you are a war time veteran with limited income and you are permanently and totally disabled or are at-least 65 years old.  The disability does not have to be "service connected".  This is needs based and the veteran must have limited income.  These pension benefits are available to those who served during a period of war.

Veterans Administration Process
The process can be long and involve many "appeals." 
The first step in all cases, is to file a VA claim at a regional VA Office. 
If the veteran does not like the results of the Rating Decision, then a Notice of Disagreement can be filed.  After the VA receives the Notice of Disagreement, the VA may ask the veteran if he or she would like a re-review of the case. 
At this point, the veteran can now request a hearing.  This hearing would be held by a hearing officer. 
If the veteran is still disagrees with the decision, he or she can file an appeal with the Board of Veteran Appeals before an Administrative Law Judge.  This can take an extremely long time - presently, it is about a 2+ years wait. 
If the veteran decides, s/he is still unhappy with the decision s/he can file an appeal with Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. 
The last appeal is to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Attorneys and Veterans Disability Benefits
New legislation passed that allows veterans to hire attorneys to represent them for benefits before the Veterans Administration.  Prior to this recently legislation, attorney's have been prohibited from charging a fee to represent veterans at the administrative level.  This new legislation, if signed by The President, would allow veterans to hire lawyers to help with their veteran benefit claims.  This is significant because it allows veterans to get the same advantage of legal representation that Social Security Disability claimants have.

When the new legislation is signed by The President, you will have the opportunity to hire a lawyer to help with your VA disability claim.  This opens a new area of law for disability attorneys like myself.  I look forward to being able to finally help the many veterans trying to get their Veterans Disability Benefits.

Make sure to book mark this site for updated information on VA disability benefits and your new right to hire a lawyer.  To see what is available to veterans and for more information on Veteran's Disability click the link at the bottom of the page.  If you have any questions about veterans disability or Social Security Disability for veterans, contact me by e-mail or toll free by phone at 1-877-527-5529.  If you are applying for Social Security Disability make sure to read my Ultimate Social Security Disability Guide.

UPDATE:  President Bush in January 2007 signed the above into law.  So as of June of 2007 Veterans will be able to hire lawyers to represent them. 
UPDATE:  This update is to clarify when a veteran can hire a lawyer to represent them in a veterans disability claim.  If you filed your notice of disagreement before June 20, 2007 you can hire a lawyer after your first final decision by the BVA, if you hire them within one year.  If you filed your notice of disagreement after June 20, 2007 you can hire an attorney after the filing of that notice of disagreement.  I am also starting a new site on Veterans disability it will take some time but I plan to provide as much information as I can on the subject.  My new site is called veterans disability lawyer site.  

Veterans Administration Web Site

We have attempted to provide up to date and accurate information, however the information in this site is not guaranteed.  No attorney client relationship exist.  The information in this site is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified attorney.
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