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What Is a Veteran Advocate? 

What Is a Veteran Advocate? 

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What Is a Veteran Advocate? 

Veterans were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. If they get hurt in service, it is the country’s responsibility and duty to look after its veterans and their families. Unfortunately, obtaining what they require to go on with their lives can be complicated and time-consuming for those who have served. 

Getting what you deserve should not be this hard. Morgan & Morgan’s compassionate and experienced veteran advocates can help if you are battling to receive the medical help or disability benefits you need to go on with your life. Get started now and contact us for free advice.

Veterans’ Disability Benefits

Getting veterans’ disability benefits can involve a complex process. A veteran advocate can guide you through the process and help you obtain the disability benefits you deserve. 

Eligibility for Veterans Disability Benefits

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), basic requirements that can qualify a veteran for disability benefits include: 

  • Serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty

AND

  • Getting a disability rating for a service-related injury or condition 

In addition, to be eligible, veterans must have either:

  • Suffered an injury or illness while serving

OR

  • Suffered aggravation of an existing injury or illness due to serving

OR

  • Developed a disability-related to active-duty that did not present until they finished active service

In many cases, veterans can struggle to provide the necessary evidence showing that their disability or condition is related to active-duty service. A veteran advocate can potentially help them prove this essential link.

Injuries That Can Qualify for VA Disability Benefits  

The veteran advocates at Morgan & Morgan have experience with helping veterans recover disability benefits for the following physical conditions as well as others:  

  • Chronic back pain and back disability
  • Spinal injury and paralysis
  • Breathing problems from a lung condition or disease
  • Amputations
  • Loss of mobility or loss of range of motion
  • Cancer caused by toxin exposure
  • Loss of hearing or sight
  • Head and brain injuries such as traumatic brain injury

You could also qualify for VA disability benefits for certain mental disorders and illnesses, including but not limited to: 

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

There can be other conditions that could qualify you for VA disability benefits. If you are unsure whether your disability or condition entitles you to benefits, a veteran advocate can advise you.

A Veteran Advocate Can Help with Your Application for Benefits

Completing claims for VA assistance can feel burdensome and overwhelming. A veteran advocate can explain your rights and walk you through your options to recover benefits. They can help you prove that your injury is service-related, which is vital for your claim.

An advocate can also assist you with completing the necessary VA forms and ensure the paperwork is filled in correctly and accompanied by the relevant medical records. Your veteran advocate can also consult with medical providers to collect the necessary medical records and physician statements that complete your application.

Appealing Against Your Disability Rating

The benefits you can receive from the VA directly will depend on your disability rating. Therefore, if your disability rating is too low, you will receive inadequate disability benefits. Individuals who believe that their disability rating is too low can launch an appeal by filing a supplemental claim with their VA office. The claim has to be accompanied by new evidence that could change the disability rating decision. The VA recommends filing the claim within one year of receiving your decision letter. 

Getting your disability rating changed can be an uphill struggle and may require filing several appeals during the process. Missing a deadline or making any mistakes on the relevant forms could cause your claim to be thrown out. Consider working with an experienced veteran advocate attorney to get a fair disability rating and receive the benefits you need to go on with your life. 

A Veteran Advocate Can Help Families Access VA Benefits

If you are the spouse or child of a veteran, you could potentially recover the following benefits, among others:

  • Healthcare
  • Life insurance
  • Fees for education and training programs
  • Home loans

Survivors Benefits 

In addition to the benefits above, survivors of a deceased veteran or service member, including the spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents, could qualify for additional benefits, such as:

  • A monthly survivors’ pension
  • Burial costs
  • Bereavement counseling
  • Tax-free monetary compensation (VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation)

Benefits for Those Caring for a Veteran

If you care for a disabled veteran, you could be entitled to certain benefits and support from the VA, including but not limited to:

  • A monthly payment
  • Access to health benefits
  • Caregiver training and education
  • Mental health counseling
  • Financial and travel assistance when accompanying a veteran to medical appointments
  • Respite care (currently at least 30 days per year)

The application for caregiver benefits has to be completed by the veteran and the caregiver together. A veteran advocate can help you with the application to prove that you are eligible for assistance. If there are several eligible caregivers in your family, you should seek advice from one of our veteran advocates to ensure all caregivers can receive the assistance they are entitled to.

Family Members of a Veteran Can Seek Help

Applying for VA benefits can be a challenge for a veteran’s family and survivors of a deceased veteran. It can be easy to lose hope when filling in stacks of forms and waiting for months to receive a response from the VA. However, help is available. If you are a family member of a veteran and do not know where to turn for help, a veteran advocate can be there for you. If you or a loved one was already denied benefits, do not keep struggling on your own and consult with a veteran advocate at Morgan & Morgan as soon as possible.

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FAQ

Veteran Advocate FAQs

  • What if I received a Dishonorable Discharge?

    If you received anything other than an honorable discharge, recovering benefits from the VA could be next to impossible. However, generally, individuals have the opportunity to apply for an upgrade or correction of discharge in some circumstances. You could have a good case if your discharge status was connected to:

    • A mental health condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • A traumatic brain injury (TBI)
    • Sexual harassment or assault during active service 
    • Your sexual orientation 
  • The Character of Discharge Review Process

    Even without an honorable discharge, you could be entitled to VA benefits with a “Character of Discharge” review. The VA will examine your record to identify whether your service was honorable for VA purposes, in which case you could still recover benefits. However, the review can take up to a year, and you will have to provide comprehensive supporting evidence. 

    Trying to obtain benefits with anything other than an honorable discharge can be challenging. Consider working with an experienced veteran’s advocate who can help you put an application together to have your discharge status reviewed. 

  • How Do I Prove That My Disability Is Connected to Active Service?

    Your benefits will hinge on proving that your disability is service-related. However, you could have various avenues to prove the link, including:

    A Direct Connection

    If you experienced an accident or incident during your time of active service, resulting in your disability or condition, you would be required to present evidence linking the two. 

    Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Condition

    If you had a pre-existing medical condition aggravated by military service, the condition must have been noted on the original medical exam. You will further have to show evidence proving that your condition was made worse by active duty. 

    A Presumed Connection

    A presumed connection may qualify an individual for benefits in some cases. An example can be the exposure to Agent Orange leading to disabilities later in life. 

    VA Medical Treatment Injury

    If you suffered an injury during treatment at a VA hospital or medical facility, your resulting condition or injury is automatically considered eligible for benefits.

    A Secondary Service Connection

    When a service-connected disability causes a second disability, you could have a secondary service connection and be eligible for additional benefits. 

    Proving that your disability is connected to service can be tricky, especially in cases with presumptive or secondary service connections. A veteran advocate can help to document your disability, prove the connection to service, and present your case strongly to fight for the benefits you need.

  • Could I Receive Retroactive Benefits?

    The application and appeals process for VA benefits can be lengthy and, in some cases, take years. For a veteran, this can feel like waiting an eternity for the benefits they are entitled to. Therefore, the VA does grant retroactive awards for benefits between an application and the approval for benefits. Retroactive awards generally start the month after the “effective date,” which is when your application arrived at the VA.

    However, in some instances, veterans could receive retroactive benefits going further back in time. An advocate can help you determine the scope of your retroactive benefits.

  • Why Is My Claim Taking so Long?

    There can be several reasons why your VA claim is delayed. For one, the VA is facing huge backlogs currently when it comes to claims processing. However, some of the other reasons why claims can take a long time include:

    • Lack of medical evidence
    • Your claim going through the appeals process
    • The backlog situation at your regional VA office 

    Unfortunately, in most cases, there is not much that can be done to speed up the process, especially if the delay is due to a backlog or due to going through the normal appeals process. However, in the following circumstances and some others, you could be eligible for expedited claims processing: 

    • Terminal illness
    • Severe financial hardship
    • Advanced age 

    If you are suffering hardship due to your claim being stuck in the system, a veteran advocate could help to speed up the process.

  • How Much Does a Veteran Advocate Cost?

    Veterans deserve an advocate in their corner. We believe that getting justice and the benefits you deserve should not depend on your financial situation. Therefore, you pay nothing upfront to work with a veteran advocate attorney at Morgan & Morgan. We only get paid if we win and you recover the benefits and compensation you deserve.

  • Do I Need a Veteran Advocate to Get VA Benefits?

    Veterans and their families can potentially handle claims for disability and other benefits on their own. However, depending on the complexity of your case, getting help from an advocate can save time and aggravation and potentially help you receive the maximum amount of benefits. 

    Getting what you deserve can be tough, especially if you have not been honorably discharged or your disability rating is inaccurate. The appeals process is generally convoluted and painstakingly slow. Meanwhile, you could be left to carry the financial burden without the financial help you need after serving your country. 

    Veterans prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country should not have to battle to get what they deserve. A veteran’s advocate can make sure that you are not forgotten about, and your application or appeal does not end up “stuck in the system” for years while your life is on hold. They can ensure that your paperwork is mistake-free and documents are handed in on time. They can also track the progress of your claim. 

  • Get Help Now 

    Morgan & Morgan’s veteran advocates and attorneys, many of them having served in the military themselves, are committed to helping veterans get their due. Applying for VA benefits can entail jumping through several hoops and waiting for years for the financial assistance you need now. We want to help. 

    We have handled numerous benefit claims and appealed denials for veterans and their families and could help you too. To find out for free how our veteran advocates can assist you with getting what you deserve, get in contact now

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