Our veterans deserve the benefits to which they are entitled to after doing so much for our country. Unfortunately, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doesn’t always make it easy for the brave men and women who have served our country to get the disability benefits they deserve. When you feel you have been unfairly declined benefits, it may be best to contact a knowledgeable veterans’ benefits attorney. Morgan & Morgan’s Memphis office have fought for veterans in countless veterans’ benefits claims, and we can help you too. Getting fair treatment from the VA can be a complicated, time-consuming process, and may require several appeals.
Morgan & Morgan veterans’ benefits attorneys know how to cut through the seemingly endless red tape that surrounds veterans benefits. If you’ve been denied disability benefits or death benefits, we can help. Appealing a denied disability claim takes skill and know-how. To find out what our Memphis veterans’ benefits attorneys may be able to do for you, please fill out our free case evaluation form today.
Denied Claims: How to Get the Veteran Benefits You Deserve
Proving your disability is connected to your service in the military can be the most challenging issue when trying to get a claim approved. Our experienced Memphis veterans’ benefits attorneys are well aware of the multitude of issues involved when dealing with the VA, and what it takes to get this agency to sit up and listen, rather than deny you the benefits you deserve. Your claim will have four basic requirements:
- You must be a veteran.
- You must have a current medical condition.
- Your condition must have been caused by an event that occurred while you were on active duty status.
- You must prove that your current disability is directly related to the event you suffered while on active duty.
The most pivotal point is that your current condition is an aggravation or development of something that happened to you while serving in a branch of the Armed Forces. You must show a medical diagnosis of your current disability, and medical proof that it developed from a disease or injury sustained while serving in the military.
The VA Appeals Process
The veterans’ benefits attorneys in our Memphis office can help you with all stages of an appeal, including:
Review by the Local VA Office: Your attorney may file a Notice of Disagreement with the VA regional office if your claim has been denied by the Memphis VA office. The Notice of Disagreement must be submitted within one year of the date that your local VA office mailed its original decision denying your claim. After the local VA office receives the Notice of Disagreement, it will create a Statement of the Case. The Statement of the Case is a detailed explanation of the evidence, laws, and regulations that were used by the local VA office in deciding your claim and the evidence contained in the Statement of the Case. As part of the review process, a decision review officer at your local VA office will review your claim. Your attorney may also request that a personal hearing be conducted. A personal hearing is an informal hearing presided over by the decision review officer who will review your claim. Your Memphis veterans’ benefits attorney will evaluate your case to determine if a personal hearing should be requested in your case.
File an Appeal with the Board of Veterans Appeals: If your claim remains denied after the review by the Memphis VA office, your attorney may file an appeal with the Board of Veterans Appeals. As part of the appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals, you have the right to a personal hearing. The personal hearing may be one of three types:
- A hearing in Washington, D.C., where the Board of Veterans Appeals is located.
- A video conference hearing with your local VA office and a board member in Washington, D.C.
- A hearing at your local VA office with the board member present.
At the hearing, your attorney may ask questions to help you explain your medical condition and how it was caused by your military service. The VA board member may also ask you questions during the hearing, and your attorney may submit any new medical evidence that supports your claim for disability benefits. Prior to the hearing, your attorney may practice questions with you to help you prepare. It is important that you are able to clearly explain the extent of your disability and how it is connected to your military service.
File an Appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims: The final step in the veterans’ benefits appeal process is filing a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. If your claim has been improperly denied by the Board of Veterans Appeals, your attorney may file a Notice of Appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Your attorney will prepare a legal brief detailing why you are entitled to veterans benefits and may present an oral argument to the judge in your case. ## Who Our Attorneys Can Help
Our Memphis veterans’ benefits attorneys have experience helping the following types of individuals qualify for benefits:
Veterans: For purposes of qualifying for benefits, the VA defines the term “veteran” as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air services, and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.”
Surviving Spouses: A surviving spouse of a veteran may receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. In general, to qualify for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, the veteran must have died while on active duty, active duty for training, inactive duty training, or have died from an injury or disease that was related to military service.
Surviving Children: Surviving children of veterans who are under the age of 18 (or 23 in the case of students) and who are unmarried may be eligible for benefits. In addition, certain disabled adult children may qualify for benefits.
Types of Disabilities That Qualify for Benefits
A veteran must be at least 10 percent disabled to qualify for benefits. Our attorneys can help veterans with the following types of injuries receive disability benefits from the VA:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder;
- Exposure to toxic chemicals;
- Cancer caused by exposure to harmful substances;
- Back and spinal injuries;
- Orthopedic or back problems;
- Gulf war syndrome;
- Hearing loss from prolonged exposure to loud sounds;
- Medical conditions caused by exposure to depleted uranium;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Tropical diseases, such as dysentery and malaria;
- Gunshot wounds;
- Shrapnel wounds from improvised explosive devices; and
- Knee, leg, and arm injuries.
The VA maintains a list of specific classes of veterans with certain conditions it presumes to be disabled and therefore automatically eligible for disability benefits. Veterans who may automatically qualify for benefits include:
- Former prisoners of war;
- Veterans who have certain chronic or tropical diseases that become evident within a specified period of time after discharge from service; and
- Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange.
If your claim was denied by the VA, we may be able to help. To learn what a Memphis veterans’ benefits attorney may be able to do for you, fill out our free case evaluation form today.