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Orlando Veterans' Benefits
As the American Civil War came to a close, President Abraham Lincoln called upon America “to care for him who shall have borne the battle.”
This admonition ultimately gave birth to the Veterans Administration (VA) and now the modern Department of Veterans Affairs, whose primary responsibility is administering pensions and disability payments, and providing medical care for Americans who have served in the armed forces.
Unfortunately, poor funding, personnel shortfalls, and sometimes sub-par administration have made it unnecessarily difficult for the more than 20 million veterans currently living in the U.S. – 1.5 million of whom live in the state of Florida – to obtain the benefits they deserve.
Morgan & Morgan veterans' benefits attorneys know how to cut through the seemingly insurmountable red tape that surrounds veterans' benefits.
We are one of only a handful of firms practicing in this challenging area of law and are proud to assist Orlando veterans in obtaining compensation for their service-connected injuries, disabilities and diseases. To learn more, fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form.
What Benefits are Available to Florida Veterans?
United States veterans are entitled to a number of benefits after being discharged from the armed forces. Most are granted fairly routinely.
However, qualifying for some benefits, particularly veterans' disability benefits, requires the veteran to meet a number of complex criteria and to show: a) that they suffer from a fully or partially disabling disease or condition, and b) that condition is “service-connected” – in other words, that it was caused by something they experienced in military service.
Clearly, if a soldier is badly injured in the line of duty, establishing this connection is not typically difficult. However, soldiers who develop chronic conditions later in life, those who develop diseases due to chemical or radiation exposure, or those who suffer from severe mental health conditions, most notably post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may have a more difficult time.
While numerous non-profit Veterans Service Organizations exist to help with the initial application process, these organizations often lack the resources, experience and training to carry on when initial claims are denied. This is where an experienced Orlando veterans' benefits lawyer comes in.
The Veterans' Benefits Rating and Appeal Process
In Orlando, veterans' disability benefits are awarded and calculated based on a percentage system. Unlike Social Security Disability, which requires the claimant be totally disabled, a veteran can qualify for benefits if partially disabled.
A percentage rating is assigned to each service-connected condition. These individual ratings are totaled together using a complicated formula to reach an overall disability rating.
A veteran who has at least one condition rated at 40 percent and a total rating of 70 percent can argue that they are totally unable to work, despite having a rating of less than 100 percent disabled, by making a claim for total disability by means of individual unemployability (TDIU). Because it is so difficult to reach 100 percent, even with multiple service-connected conditions, this is often an advisable route to take.
When the functionaries evaluating initial veterans disability claims determine that a condition is not service related, or assign a rating that does not reflect the seriousness of the disability, the claimant can have their case heard before a judge of the Board of Veterans Appeals.
A further appeal can then be taken to a special federal court, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and ultimately to a United States Court of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court.
Florida Veterans with Disabilities Deserve Experienced Representation
Unfortunately, Orlando veterans who are suffering because of service-related disabilities frequently struggle to get the compensation they deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The process can be confusing and even a small misstep can set a claim back by months or years.
Morgan & Morgan veterans' benefits attorneys understand the operating procedures of the DVA, the Board of Veterans Appeals and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
We have helped numerous Florida veterans navigate the disability claims and appeals process successfully. Contact us today by phone at (407) 420-1414 or reach out to us online to have your case evaluated by a veterans' disability attorney for free.
Morgan & Morgan
Why Should I Hire a Veterans Benefits Attorney?
Getting the benefits owed to you as a veteran may seem straightforward. You visit a doctor, have them document your disabilities, and submit your claim to the VA.
However, there are nuances involved when obtaining disability benefits that many people aren’t aware of. A simple mistake on your form could result in months or years spent debating with the VA, trying to convince them that your disabilities were due to service-related injuries.
When you hire one of our veterans benefits attorneys, you can rest assured that they will handle your claim with the utmost care. At Morgan & Morgan, our lawyers are well-versed in veteran benefits law. We’ll ensure that the appropriate documentation is submitted to the VA to verify your claim, and we’ll check your application for accuracy.
Handling your claim alone might lead to reduced benefits and a lot of unnecessary paperwork. When you allow a veterans benefits attorney to handle it, you don’t need to worry about errors. We’ll take care of everything on your behalf, so you can focus on your health and life after military service.
What Does a Veterans Benefits Attorney Do?
Lawyers specializing in veterans benefits make sure that their clients have all their ducks in a row before filing a claim.
The lawyers at Morgan & Morgan work to establish clear-cut evidence of your injuries and disabilities that the VA can’t dismiss. If doctors’ records and treatment aren’t enough, we’ll find medical experts to support your claims, adding further credibility to your application.
Next, we’ll ensure that all of your paperwork agrees with the evidence and meets VA requirements. You won’t need to worry about mistakes that might cost you months of benefits while you attempt to resolve errors. Instead, we’ll put your application through a thorough review before sending it to the VA.
We'll file an appeal on your behalf if you’ve already submitted a claim and received a denial or benefits less than what you deserve. Our request will include comprehensive evidence to support your claims and align with VA benefits law.
We’ll also represent you if your case goes to the Board of Veterans Appeals to be heard by a veterans law judge.
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Decision on a Claim?
According to the VA, the agency makes most decisions on initial claims within 125.3 days. However, it may take longer if you have a more complex claim involving multiple disabilities. Veterans who don’t submit the necessary evidence to support their claim may receive requests for additional information, which prolongs the decision process.
Instead of leaving your claim in the VA’s hands, do everything you can to support a favorable decision by providing them with adequate support. The veterans benefits attorneys at Morgan & Morgan will present only evidence that supports each disability you claim in your application.
Can Morgan & Morgan Handle Claims Denials?
If you began your claim on your own or another representative handled it for you, we can represent you in your appeal following a denial of benefits.
Usually, the VA denies benefits when there isn’t enough information to support your claim. We’ll work diligently with your treating physicians and medical experts to file an appeal, including the necessary information the VA requires.
When Will I Start Receiving VA Benefits?
If the VA approves your application, the VA will assign an effective date for your benefits to start.
The VA determines effective dates by the date you submit your claim. If you submit your claim within one year of your last day of service, the VA will backdate your effective date to the day following your separation from the military.
However, if you fail to submit your claim within the one-year period, the effective start date of your benefits will be the day the VA receives your application.
For instance, if your separation date from the U.S. Coast Guard is November 1, 2021, and you submit a claim for benefits on June 30, 2022, you are within the one-year window. If your claim is approved, the VA will backdate your benefits to November 2, 2021.
In contrast, if you have a separation date of November 1, 2021, and don’t submit a disability claim until December 15, 2022, your benefits will begin on the date the VA received your claim. You will not be entitled to prior benefits that start after your separation from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Can You Help Me With an Application to Increase My Veterans Disability Benefits?
If your circumstances change and you believe you qualify for additional veterans benefits, we will assist you in filing for further compensation.
Common reasons why people seek additional benefits include:
- A disability that worsens
- New disabilities that arise following separation from duty
- An increase in family size, like a new spouse or child
Just like an initial claim for VA benefits, you will need to provide medical evidence of a worsening disability. Statements from friends and family are helpful, and medical provider documentation will bolster your claim’s credibility.
Are Your Orlando Veterans Benefits Attorney Services Expensive?
At Morgan & Morgan, we offer free consultations for prospective clients. During the consultation, we’ll discuss your situation and the disabilities you have that resulted from your time spent as active duty military personnel. Once we understand your case, we’ll discuss the fees necessary to handle your claim.
Remember, when you attempt to handle your case on your own, you’re much more likely to miss important details that can impair its success. You need your benefits as soon as possible. Don’t risk having your claim lost in processing, which may significantly lengthen the time it takes to begin receiving your checks.