Veterans and their families deserve a return to normalcy when veterans return home. Often, that can require access to disability benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). But too often, these benefits are not provided when they are needed, and our veterans suffer as a result. At Morgan & Morgan, the attorneys in our office in The Villages have extensive experience helping veterans and their families receive the benefits they deserve. Whether you are appealing a denied claim or an insufficient award of benefits, our attorneys know how to navigate the veterans’ claim process.
In the case of a denied claim, our veterans’ benefits attorneys can examine the VA’s decision and provide you with representation during the appeals process to increase your chances of receiving a favorable decision.
To receive a free consultation from one of our veterans’ benefits attorney in The Villages, please fill out our free, no-obligation case review form today.
How An Attorney Can Help
In many cases, the most challenging aspect of a veterans’ disability claim is proving that a veteran’s disability is connected to his or her military service. It is often the case that the disabling condition is not discovered until many years after the veteran’s military service concluded. To help prove that the medical condition is linked to military service, your veterans’ disability attorney may work with medical experts to establish a service connection between your disability and military service.
The VA has often denied claims for minor administrative errors or for what they perceive as insufficient medical evidence of a disability. This can make it even more difficult and time-consuming than usual for your claim and appeal, as the VA has a notorious backlog of claims to wade through. Our veterans’ benefits attorneys can help ensure that everything about your claim and appeal are in line with the VA’s rules and regulations, to help the process move along quickly.
The VA Appeals Process
The veterans’ benefits attorneys in our office in The Villages office can potentially 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 Villages 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 attorney will evaluate your case to determine if a personal hearing should be requested.
File an Appeal with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals: If your claim remains denied after the review by the The Villages 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 videoconference hearing with your local VA office and the board member in Washington, D.C.; or
- 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 be 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 Veteran’s Claims: The final step in the veterans’ appeal process is filing a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veteran’s Claims. If you 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 Veteran’s 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
There are several groups of people that benefits from the VA can help. This includes:
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.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Today
Our veterans deserve better than having their claims denied for minor, irrelevant reasons. At Morgan & Morgan, we couldn’t agree more and have a unique practice area that just serves our veterans’.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a benefits claim, the veterans’ benefits attorneys in our office in The Villages may be able to help. Contact us for a free evaluation of your case to learn more.