What to Do If You’re Struggling to Get Fair VA Disability Benefits
Hiring a qualified disability advocate is a smart move if you’re struggling to get fair VA disability benefits. Veterans are veterans, not advocates. As such, you may have difficulty:
- Understanding which disabilities qualify you for compensation
- Understanding the medical aspects of your claim
- Determining the appropriate rating for your disabilities
- Completing all the necessary paperwork for a disability claim
Even if you’re versed in the nuances of VA disability claims, having an advocate on your side can be of great help. A qualified advocate will:
- Protect you from suffering further health problems: The VA claims process can cause significant stress and strain. If you handle every aspect of your claim on your own, then your health may suffer because of it. Your advocate will take most claim-related responsibilities off your hands, protecting your health in the process.
- Stand up to VA officials: You may seek an advocate because VA officials have treated you unfairly. Whether they denied your claim unjustifiably, issued unfair ratings for your disabilities, or harmed you in another way, you need someone to stand up to VA officials for you. A qualified advocate is the advocate that you deserve.
- Exhaust all of your options for getting fair VA disability benefits: Advocates who handle VA disability claims know all available options for securing benefits. Whether through appeals or other channels, a capable advocate will not rest until they’ve explored all avenues to fair benefits.
Asking for help is not always easy, but it may be the right choice for you.
We Can Help Make VA Do What’s Right by You
Your service-connected disability entitles you to compensation from the federal government as long as you were not dishonorably discharged from the service. But the high caseload and ingrained bureaucracy at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can get in the way of you getting what you are due.
We will work to clear the way for you to get the VA benefits you are entitled to under the law—ALL of the benefits you deserve. No fee if no recovery.
Do You Qualify for VA Disability Compensation?
The law is clear: VA is to compensate veterans who have service-connected disabilities as long as they have not been dishonorably discharged from any branch of the Armed Services.
Mental disabilities also qualify for veterans disability compensation, if the veteran’s mental disorder is due to or began during service and is rated at 10% or more. The disability may have been sustained during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. If you were on inactive duty for training, the disability must have been caused by a traumatic injury, heart attack, or stroke.
A veteran’s degree of disability rating (gauged in ten percent increments) determines the amount of the monthly benefit, which is a tax-free payment. Benefits may be combined and paid for multiple disabilities and, if the veteran has dependents, he or she may receive an additional allowance if the combined disability is rated at 30% or more.
Disability ratings are key to obtaining fair benefits, and this matter can be complicated. VA determines ratings for the severity of a veteran’s disability based on the evidence submitted as part of the veteran’s claim, or from evidence VA obtains from treatment providers and/or military records.
Disability ratings are defined as percentages, from 0% to 100%. Ratings increase or decrease in ten-percent increments (for example, 10%, 20%, 30%, etc.). When a vet has multiple disabling injuries or illnesses, they are rated separately and combined for one total rating. However, they are not simply added. For example, a disability resulting in a 50% rating and one with a 30% rating do not automatically yield an 80% combined rating.
Instead, VA uses a table (known as the Combined Ratings Table) to calculate total disability ratings. Taking the veteran’s most severe rating, such as a 50% disability rating for PTSD, and then the next most severe, such as a 30% rating for diabetes, and tracking from the left-hand column and then the top row, the table provides a combined rating of 65%. Say there is a third disability, a hearing loss with a 20% rating, for example. The 65% and 20% combined come to 72%, which would be rounded down to 70%.
Ratings are only rounded after all disability ratings are combined. If a rating is midway between 10% increments or higher (65%, 66%, 67%, etc.) the final rating is rounded up. Lower ratings (64%, 63%, etc.) are rounded down to the nearest 10% increment.
If this is confusing, you’re not alone. The entire VA disability process can be complex. Our advocates understand the calculations well because they work with them every day. We will guide you through the disability rating process and possibly increase your rating.
Our veterans disability advocates may be able to help in many circumstances. If you have already received VA disability benefits but your appealable decision did not properly rate you, we can assist you. We can also help if you already have a pending appeal process for a higher rating.
Your claim should reflect what you truly deserve. You do not have to fight the bureaucracy for fair treatment on your own.
Types of Compensation
Disabled veterans and dependents of disabled veterans may also qualify for:
- Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is a higher rate of compensation (also tax-free) paid under special circumstances. Such circumstances may include the veteran’s need for assistance to accomplish daily life activities. A specific disability such as loss of the use of an arm may also qualify you for SMC. Veterans can also receive “aid and attendance” for their spouse based on the spouse’s need for assistance with daily activities.
- Total Disability Due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU) helps veterans whose disability prevents them from working and earning wages to support themselves and their family. VA gauges one’s fitness for TDIU based on their ability to maintain “substantially gainful employment”. The TDIU designation allows veterans to be paid at the 100% disability rate, even if VA has not rated their disability at the total level.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free payment generally made to a surviving spouse, dependent child, or qualifying parent of a veteran who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, or for survivors of veterans who died from their service-connected disability.
VA also provides certain housing and insurance benefits to veterans with disabilities, such as:
- Adapted Housing Grants may be used to help purchase or build a home adapted for the veteran’s disability, or to modify an existing home to accommodate a disability.
- Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance for veterans who have built, remodeled, or purchased a home with an Adapted Housing Grant. The mortgage holder (for example, a bank or mortgage company) is the beneficiary of the insurance, with a maximum of $200,000 paid.
- Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance includes permanent plans and term insurance with a maximum face value of $10,000.
There are also several resources about special claims benefits available to disabled veterans. These include a one-time allowance to buy a new or used car or other adaptive equipment to accommodate a service-connected disability. The convalescence benefit provides a temporary 100% disability rating (and compensation) as the veteran recovers from surgery or has a joint immobilized by a cast without surgery. A temporary 100% disability compensation rating is also available to a veteran who has been hospitalized for more than 21 days due to a service-connected disability.
Get Help from Our VA Benefits Advocate Now
VA can give you the runaround or simply drop the ball and leave you without the disability benefit payments you deserve. Many times, these problems can be overcome with experienced and caring assistance from our disability advocates.
We can review your claim documents to make sure they provide the information VA officials require. We can assist you with getting the evidence needed and the documentation required by the VA system.