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“They sent somebody to visit me in the hospital and get my side of the story (totally free). I was assigned Mr. Crawford and told that we had a case. Fast forward about 9 months later and I received literally 14x what the insurance company had offered me. This is after the lawyer and medical fees as well. So basically this was totally free and I barely had to do anything I am so glad I called Marks and Harrison and I will be recommending them to all of my family and friends.”— Robert Smith
The lawyers of Marks & Harrison understand the challenges injured veterans face in Richmond and other areas in Virginia.
Many veterans finish their service in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Forces, Marines, or Coast Guard with debilitating injuries and illnesses or later suffer from a condition that is found to be connected to their service.
Some of the most common disabilities suffered by veterans are:
- Loss of limbs
- Eye injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- Exposure to toxins and diseases
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Due to their disability, veterans can suffer ongoing pain, lack the ability to work, and face significant financial strain. We are committed to helping.
Disabled veterans in Virginia may be eligible to receive tax-free, monthly disability benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Our law firm can help veterans learn more about these benefits and other options and work with them as they apply for the benefits they have earned.
If a veteran or family member disagrees with the VA’s decision on his or her claim, we can assist in an appeal, as well.
It starts with a free consultation. If you or your loved one is a veteran who needs help with a veterans’ disability benefits claim, call or contact us online today. We serve veterans in Richmond and throughout Virginia.
Do You Know If You Are Eligible for VA Disability Benefits?
The reality is that many veterans and their family members may not be aware they are eligible to receive disability benefits. To qualify, a veteran must have:
- Served in the Uniformed Services
- Been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions
Additionally, the veteran must have an injury or illness that:
- Results in at least a 10 percent disability rating
- Was incurred in or aggravated by
- Active duty
- Active duty for training
- Inactive duty for training.
To establish your right to disability benefits, you must present evidence of:
- Your physical or mental medical condition
- A relationship between the disability and a service-related event, injury or disease.
In some cases, the relationship between your disability and service is presumed. The presumption arises where a veteran:
- Was a prisoner of war, or
- Suffers from a chronic or tropical disease (evident shortly after discharge)
The presumption also applies to veterans who were exposed to:
- Ionizing radiation, mustard gas or Lewisite while in service
- Herbicides such as Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam
It also applies to veterans who served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War.
If you have a disability rating of at least 30 percent, you may eligible for compensation for your eligible dependents as well, including your:
- Minor children
- Children between ages 18 and 23 who are still in school
- Children who suffer from a disability that arose before age 18
- Dependent parents.
As our law firm has seen, an issue often arises concerning whether a veteran’s disability is connected to his or her military service. Our attorneys will work hard to collect the evidence it takes to establish this relationship.
What Types of Disability Benefits Are Available to Veterans in Virginia?
If you meet the above eligibility requirements, you can and should receive tax-free monthly payments. The amount will depend on your disability rating, which is on a scale of 10 to 100.
Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to receive your payment at a 100 percent rate even if you do not have a 100 percent disability rating. This is called an unemployability claim.
To be eligible, you must show that you cannot maintain “substantially gainful employment” due to your service-connected disabilities and that you have:
- One service-connected disability rated at least at 60 percent,
- Two or more service-connected disabilities, with at least one disability rated at 40 percent or more, with a combined rating of at least 70 percent.
Other disability benefits options available to veterans and their families are:
- Dependency and indemnity compensation – These are tax-free monthly payments paid to eligible survivors of family members who either died while on active duty or died from a service-related injury or disease.
- Special monthly compensation – This is an extra tax-free payment that is available to those in need of aid and attendance by another person. It is also available to veterans who have a specific disability such as the loss of a limb.
- Concurrent retirement and disability pay – This is a special program that allows you to receive both military retirement and veterans’ disability benefits.
- Combat-related special compensation – This is another special program that provides benefits if your disability was combat-related, including a disability caused by exposure to hazards such as Agent Orange and radiation.
How Do You Apply for Veterans’ Disability Benefits in Virginia?
You can submit your claim for benefits by filling out an online application form or by mailing a printed copy to the VA Regional Benefit Office in Roanoke. Make sure to keep a copy of the application.
It can be highly beneficial to work with an experienced veterans’ disability benefits lawyer before you submit your claim. For instance, the attorney can help you obtain and send to the VA:
- Your service medical records and post-service medical records
- Documentation showing the event that gave rise to your disability
You should also expect the VA to request that you undergo a medical examination. The VA will pay for that exam.
Once your application and file are complete, a Rating Veterans Service Representative will decide your disability rating.
You will then get a letter notifying you of the VA’s decision on your claim. The letter will tell you the evidence the VA reviewed and the reasons behind its decision.
- If your claim is allowed – The letter will state how much you will receive each month, based on your disability rating, and the date you should start to receive your benefits.
- If your claim is denied – You will have one year from the date on the letter in which to file an appeal.
Can You Appeal the VA’s Decision on Your Disability Benefits Claim?
If you disagree with any aspect of the ratings decision made by the VA, you can file what is called a “Notice of Disagreement” within the one-year period after you receive your letter. The notice must be in writing.
After the VA receives your notice, the VA will prepare a “Statement of the Case” that will provide a summary of the evidence the VA reviewed, the reasons for its decision and citation to relevant laws and regulations.
If you disagree with the Statement of the Case, your next step is to complete and submit a Substantive Appeal form, or a “Form 9.” You need to send in this form within 90 days after you receive the Statement of the Case or within one year of your ratings decision letter – whichever comes later.
The next step will be to request an in-person hearing before a Veterans Law Judge (VLJ) or video hearing. You should know that you can give the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) any new evidence that bears on your case while it is on appeal. This is called a “continuous open record.”
If you disagree with the decision made by the BVA, you can either:
- File a motion for a reconsideration (based on an error in the decision), or
- File an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans.
In fact, you can continue to appeal until your case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court. However, it is rare that such a situation arises.
Get Help Today from a Virginia Veterans’ Disability Benefits Attorney
We consider it an honor to fight for those who have fought to protect the freedoms we enjoy. We are passionate about seeking benefits that our veterans and their families deserve.
If you would like to discuss your case, please contact us today by phone or through our online form. We are glad to serve veterans throughout Virginia.
Sources / More Information:
- Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
- Veterans Appeals Process Briefing, VA
- Roanoke Regional Benefit Office, VA