Veteran Disability Attorney in Big Pine Key30338 Overseas Highway, Unit 7
Big Pine Key, FL 33043
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Veterans Benefits Lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL
As a veteran, you’ve devoted years of your life to protect your country. In return, you expect the VA to assist you if you’ve developed physical or mental conditions or disabilities as a result of your service. However, applying for VA benefits can be a time-consuming and complex process.
In some cases, the VA will deny your initial claim for benefits. If this happens, you’ll have to go through their appeals process. The appeals process can involve higher-level reviews or a hearing before a judge.
If you’re applying for new VA benefits or need assistance in the appeals process, a veterans benefits lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL, can help. Morgan & Morgan offers free consultations to all of our prospective clients, and we can assist you with your claim.
Qualifying for Veterans Benefits
To qualify for veterans benefits, you must have spent some time in the military. Veterans who served on active duty or were in training meet this requirement.
Veterans seeking VA benefits must have a physical or mental medical condition they developed during their military service. Veterans may also receive benefits if they had a preexisting condition that worsened while in the military, or if they did not present symptoms of an illness until after they left the service.
The VA does not grant disability benefits to individuals with a discharge of other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable status. However, you can apply for a discharge upgrade. It’s best to seek the advice of a veterans benefits lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL, if you need help upgrading your discharge to receive VA benefits.
Common health conditions that qualify for VA benefits include:
- Hearing loss
- Back pain or disability
- Difficulty breathing
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Depression or anxiety
- Toxic chemical exposure
A physician can determine whether you have medical conditions that may make you eligible to collect VA benefits.
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How Does the VA Assign Disability Ratings and Benefit Amounts?
Once you submit your application for VA benefits, the VA will review the evidence and assign you a disability rating. The disability rating helps the VA determine your monthly benefit amount.
Your VA disability rating reflects the severity of your condition. It’s possible to have multiple injuries that impact your percentage of disability. When computing your total disability percentage, the VA uses a special calculation that combines your disabilities. The total disability percentage determines your monthly benefit amount.
Benefits vary depending on family size and dependents. Veterans who are unmarried with no dependents can collect monthly payments from $152.64 for a 10% disability to $3,332.06 for a 100% disability.
Individuals with severe injuries, like missing limbs, blindness, or immobility, may receive additional compensation. A special benefit allowance is available for individuals who need specialized transport because of their injuries or who received the Medal of Honor for their time in the service.
The VA adjusts benefits each year to account for changes in the cost of living.
What Happens After You File a VA Benefits Claim?
Once you file an initial claim, the VA will review it for benefits, usually within a few months. The average claim processing time for September 2022 was 106.4 days. During the claim processing time, you will wait to hear from the VA.
The VA may request additional supporting evidence for your claim. It may ask you to visit another doctor for an exam, or it may seek documentation from your physician. If no further information is necessary, the VA will issue a decision on your disability benefits.
If you disagree with the VA’s decision concerning your benefits, you must go through the appeals process.
It’s best to seek the advice of a veterans benefits lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL, if you need to appeal the VA’s decision. A lawyer can assist you throughout the process and ensure that the documentation you provide adequately reflects your disabilities or medical conditions.
Veterans who decide to handle their appeal on their own are at risk of losing their claims. The VA has precise rules to calculate your benefits, and you’ll want to make sure that it has the information necessary to make a favorable decision on your case.
How Does the VA Benefits Appeals Process Work?
Veterans who receive a denial of their initial claim for benefits or who disagree with the disability percentage assigned to them by the VA will need to go through the appeals process.
There are three levels to the appeals process: a supplemental claim, a higher-level review, and a board appeal.
You present additional evidence to support your claim for benefits in a supplemental claim. Ideally, the new evidence should give no reason for the VA to deny your claim further or present you with a disability rating that reflects your medical conditions.
A new reviewer will consider the latest evidence and decide on your benefits. The VA processes most supplemental claims within four to five months.
If you request a higher-level review, a senior claims administrator will review your initial application and its supporting evidence. You cannot submit additional evidence in a higher-level review claim.
If you believe that additional medical documentation or other details can change the VA’s decision, it’s best to submit a supplemental claim instead.
Veterans who request a higher-level review believe the VA made an error during the initial claims process. The veteran may request a conference with a senior reviewer to explain the mistakes they believe were made by the primary reviewer.
Most higher-level reviews finish within four to five months.
Board of Veterans’ Appeals Review
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals review is the most senior review you can request for your case. You shouldn’t ask for a Board review without the assistance of a veterans benefits lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL.
You can request a Board of Veterans’ Appeals review without a hearing or submitting new evidence. This is known as a direct review. If you have new evidence, you can submit it without requesting a hearing. Finally, you can choose to have a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge.
Board reviews are the most lengthy type of appeal. They may take up to one year or longer to process.
If your Board of Veterans’ Appeals review is unsuccessful and you still believe you deserve benefits, you must appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals or issue a new supplemental claim.
How Can a Veterans Benefits Lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL, Help?
Veterans’ benefits lawyers are highly knowledgeable in the VA benefits process. They understand how the VA makes its claims decisions and what documentation a veteran should include to improve their chances of obtaining benefits.
It’s advisable to start your application for benefits with the assistance of a veterans benefits lawyer. An attorney can review your application to ensure that you don’t make any errors and include the proper evidence to support your claim.
If your application is straightforward and provides the relevant support, you may receive your approval for benefits without going through the appeals process.
If you’ve already received a denial of benefits or disagree with the VA’s decision on your disability rating, a lawyer can help you with the appeals process. The goal is to obtain the benefits you need without waiting months or years for a fair decision.
An attorney specializing in VA benefits law will make sure that you choose the proper appeal and provide the corresponding evidence to support your case.
Veterans who need to go through the Board of Veterans’ Appeals review process will need the assistance of an attorney if they intend to request a hearing with a judge. Your attorney will represent you fairly and ensure that your claim aligns with the relevant veterans benefits laws.
While we can’t promise that your case will resolve to your satisfaction, we will do everything we can to see that the VA complies with the law in its decision-making process. We’ll assist you in filling out your claims or appeals forms and in preparing the evidence to support your case.
Why Should I Choose Morgan & Morgan to Help Me With My Veterans Benefits Claim?
Morgan and Morgan is the nation’s largest injury law firm. We have over 900 attorneys who work with all types of injury cases, including veterans benefits. A veterans benefits lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL, will personally handle your claim, working directly with you and your medical team to assemble evidence to support your case.
Our lawyers are highly skilled in all types of injury law, including cases related to veterans benefits. We’ll work on your case with compassion because we understand the sacrifices veterans and their families make to protect their country.
If I Get Approval for Benefits, When Will I Begin Receiving Them?
The VA will assign you an effective date for your benefits, which may vary depending on your situation.
In most cases, the effective date is either the date the VA receives your initial claim for benefits or the date you first suffered from a medical condition arising from your service.
If you submit a claim within one year of your separation of duty from the military, you may receive benefits backdated to your last day of service.
You’ll receive benefits from your effective date to the current date, usually within two weeks of your claim approval. Afterward, you will receive a regular monthly benefit payment.
A veterans benefits lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL, can determine your approximate effective date.
Is It Expensive to Work with a Veterans Benefits Lawyer?
At Morgan and Morgan, all of our initial consultations are free. We will offer you a contingency agreement for our services, which is a percentage of any award we win on your behalf. During your consultation, we will explain the contingency agreement so you can make a fully informed decision concerning our legal services.
As a disabled veteran, you want to receive all of the benefits you’re entitled to. Veterans benefits can support you during hard times when you can’t work due to disability. If you go through the application or appeals process alone, you may miss critical information that will lead the VA to reduce or deny your benefits.
Partner with a Veterans Benefits Lawyer in Big Pine Key, FL
The legal team at Morgan and Morgan supports our nation’s veterans, and we want to make sure that they receive the benefits they need to support themselves and their families. Contact us today to schedule your free, confidential consultation.