How Much Can a VA Disability Lawyer Charge?

How Much Can a VA Disability Lawyer Charge?

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How Much Can a VA Disability Lawyer Charge?

If you are a veteran and are curious about getting benefits through Veterans Affairs, or the VA, you want to educate yourself on every aspect of your claim. It can be very difficult to navigate this legal process on your own, which might lead you to wonder "How much can a VA disability lawyer charge?"

There are specific rules in place designed to help certain applicants for VA benefits, and this helps to answer the question of how much can a VA disability lawyer charge. The VA regulates who is eligible to represent claimants in VA benefits cases and what each of those people can be paid. You do have legal options to get help from a lawyer if you want help with your appeal. An outside party can also help you with an initial application, but they cannot be paid to do so. 

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • Can Anyone Be an Agent With the VA?

    A VA agent or lawyer has to be accredited to help claimants in front of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The process for accreditation is in place to ensure that veterans and their family members get skilled and knowledgeable representation as needed, especially if you go to the appeals stage of a claim and beyond. There are several different groups of people that can all represent veterans in VA claims and the appeals process if they have proper accreditation.

    This includes veteran service organizations, claims agents, lawyers, and country or state government entities. Veteran services organizations are licensed by the VA to represent people during both the claims and the appeals process.

    These are often provided free of charge. However, there can be very long wait times, and the experience of working with a veteran services organization can vary based on who is assigned to your claim. This is why many people who are curious about how much a VA disability lawyer charges seek out VA accredited attorneys as well as claims agents. These individuals typically represent a claimant after the VA has issued a first claim rating decision. After an initial claim rating decision has been handed down by the VA, these claims agents and attorneys can charge a cost for their representation. They use their knowledge to gather evidence in the veteran's case and to present strong arguments that might have a beneficial impact on the outcome of the case and the claimant's chances of winning their appeal.

    It can be very hard to get your VA benefits applied even if you have a legitimate medical issue. This is commonly the case for many veterans who are trying to apply for VA benefits with their records. There are many different reasons why your claim might be denied.

  • What are Common Reasons for Filing for Disability?

    There are many kinds of medical conditions that impact service members and entitle them to benefits through the VA. Knowing what the most commonly applied conditions are can help you get a full medical picture presented to the VA when you try to get benefits. The most frequent medical conditions listed on VA disability applications are:

    • Hearing loss
    • PTSD
    • Scars
    • Knee problems
    • Back and neck issues
    • Spinal damage
    • Migraines
    • Sciatic nerve pain
    • Anxiety
    • Major depressive disorder
    • Anxiety
    • Diabetes

    If you believe you have multiple medical conditions, you can apply for each of them if they are tied to your time in service and you can show this in your medical records.

  • What are the Common Causes for Denial of Benefit Payments Through the VA?

    In order to figure out the best way to respond to a VA benefits claim denial, it can be helpful to hire a lawyer to work through your application. This way you have clarity about the best way to prepare your appeal going forward. In fact, up to 30% of VA benefits claims are denied every single year.

    Here are the most common reasons that someone's claim is denied by the VA:

    • You missed a deadline given to you by the VA
    • They did not get enough evidence of the serious disability
    • Your doctor did not indicate you had a serious disability
    • There was no specific diagnosis in your medical records
    • The VA does not believe your medical condition was caused by your time in service or associated with your time in service
    • You missed a C & P exam
    • The wrong forms were filled out
    • The disability rating is not enough to get benefits
  • How Do I Know If Someone Is Accredited?

    An accredited representative is someone who is legally authorized as being capable of helping claimants who are applying for benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs. An accreditation program is required for someone to receive this accreditation. Non-lawyer representatives must pass a background check and an examination and attend further education courses on a regular basis.

    They also must follow VA guidelines. For example, people who are accredited by the VA to assist with claims must carry out their duties responsibly for a claimant, provide competent help to claimants, provide diligent and prompt claim assistance and be truthful with claimants and the VA.

    Similarly, those people who are accredited with the VA cannot engage in fraudulent, misrepresentative, dishonest, or deceitful conduct, evade a rule of conduct, violate any rules/laws in the United States Code of Federal Regulations, harm the handling process of a claim, mislead, threaten or force an applicant about benefits or rights, share any details given by the VA for representation purposes without the claimant's permission, or get involved in unethical or unlawful conduct.

  • How Does an Accredited Representative Get Paid?

    In most cases when you are curious about how much a disability lawyer gets paid, an accredited veteran's advocate will use a contingency fee associated with previously-due benefits the claimant is due. You might be eligible for benefits for some time, but because of not applying or because of the length of time it took the VA to review your case, you are now due retroactive benefits. If a claimant in this situation gets awarded retroactive benefits based on their eligibility from a prior date, a veterans' advocate gets a percentage of any retroactive amounts owed as laid out in the agreement that was agreed to by that representative and the claimant well in advance of working together.

    Fees cannot be charged on possible future benefits because this is illegal. This is prohibited and a claimant representative can only be paid if the claimant is approved for and then paid past-due benefits. Bear in mind when seeking information on how much a VA disability lawyer can get paid, that no representative is eligible to charge veterans for help filing their initial claims, nor can they agree to take part in any future VA monthly payments. An initial claim with Veterans Affairs is the applicant's first time applying for benefits. At that point, once it is reviewed by the VA, the veteran will get a rating final decision that either grants or denies the claim. This is the first handed-down decision from the VA on a claim, meaning that is not yet appealed. A representative can help a claimant file an initial claim if they don't charge any money.

    • Fees must be reasonable when charged by VA disability lawyers. This is easier to understand in the context of contingency agreements in which the attorney receives a portion of previously-due benefits to be paid as their fee. When determining whether or not a fee of a representative is reasonable, the VA looks at things such as:
    • The complexity of the case.
    • The results that the representative achieved.
    • Fees assessed by other representatives.
    • The level of competence and skill required of the representative.
    • The amount of time the representative spends on the case.
    • Reasons why an attorney or agent got discharged or stepped out of their representation before the date of benefits awarded if applicable.
    • The level of review at which the claim was taken and ultimately retained.

    Getting help with your VA claim is crucial for improving your chances of success with an appeal. A lawyer could make a big impact on your outcome, but be mindful of the fees.

    In general, fees that are 20% or less are typically presumed to be reasonable and fees beyond 33.3% are typically viewed as unreasonable. Be careful when choosing someone to help represent your VA disability benefits claim. If someone has minimal experience in VA disability law, is charging a fee based on future benefits, is not accredited, or outsources their legal work, these are all red flags that you may need to consider. When retaining an experienced lawyer, think carefully about the kind of experience you want to have. There is a lot on the line when it comes to recovering compensation and as a veteran, you deserve to be supported throughout the entire process.

    To learn more about VA benefits disability, contact Morgan & Morgan for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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