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Veterans Benefits Lawyer in Waltham
Every day, the attorneys at Morgan and Morgan receive a lot of questions about veterans benefits. These questions derive from individuals planning to apply for benefits for the first time and those whose applications have been denied by the VA.
But before we even discuss these questions, it is important to note that all is not lost if your application for benefits has been denied. All you need to do is contact Morgan and Morgan veteran's benefits lawyers in Waltham for a free case evaluation. We might be able to fight for you. And if you are applying for the first time, these questions will help you understand what to expect along the way and why it is crucial to hire an attorney.
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Who Qualifies for Veterans Benefits?
Anyone injured or sick while on active duty or with a medical condition that worsened due to active military service may be eligible for veterans benefits. In addition, the individual must have actively served in any branch of the US military and was not dishonorably discharged.
How Does the VA Claims Process Work?
When you file a claim with the VA, you will be required to take a medical examination at a VA medical facility. A certified examiner will conduct the exam to establish whether you suffer from the said medical conditions. They will also want to establish whether the said conditions are connected to your military service.
Bear in mind that this exam is usually free to all veterans applying for benefits or concerned that they might have been injured while on active military service. After the exam, the examiner will review the results and decide whether or not your condition is related to your military service or was aggravated by your service.
Is VA Compensation the Same As VA Pension?
No, these two are totally different from each other. VA compensation is for individuals who got sick or injured while in active military service. This compensation is not restricted to a particular service period and is not needs-based. The payment amount the applicant might be entitled to will also depend on the percentage of disability.
On the other hand, the VA pension is a needs-based program. Therefore, your eligibility for a pension will depend on your disability and age. Keep in mind that you may be eligible even if the disability does not derive from active military service.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive From the VA if My Application for Benefits Is Approved?
The amount of monthly compensation you may be able to receive after successfully applying for benefits will depend on your disability rating. When you apply for benefits, the VA uses a rating of 0 to 100 percent to determine the severity of your disability. As expected, the higher the rating, the higher the monthly compensation you may be entitled to.
What Determines the VA's Disability Rating System?
Several factors will determine your disability rating when you file for VA benefits. The most important factors include the following:
- The medical evidence was submitted to the VA.
- The results from your VA benefits claim exam
- Additional information from other sources, such as federal agencies
What Injuries Qualify for VA Benefits?
VA benefits cover a wide range of conditions. Examples include:
- Scar tissue injuries
- Severe loss of hearing
- Chronic back pain
- Breathing complications
- Traumatic brain injury
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of range of motion
Why Did the VA Deny My Claim?
The VA denies claims for many different reasons. Knowing these reasons can help you plan ahead when applying for benefits. Also, remember that it could take years to have your application reviewed and potentially approved by the VA. For this reason, the last thing you want is to wait for that long only to discover that your claim has been denied.
That said, here is an overview of some common reasons the VA denies disability claims:
- You provided incorrect, incomplete, or misleading information about you, your military service record, medical history, disability, etc.
- Your condition is not considered a disability by the VA.
- Your disability or sickness is not related to your military service.
- The evidence you submitted was not sufficient to prove your disability.
- You did not file the correct forms.
- You missed crucial deadlines.
- You had a pre-existing condition that was not made worse by your service in the military.
What Should I Do if the VA Denies My Application for Disability Benefits?
Contact a VA benefits attorney if the VA denies your application for benefits. Statistics have shown that the VA denies most initial claims for benefits for the above reasons and even more.
That said, studies have also shown that applicants who hire attorneys to help them file for benefits have a higher approval rate than those who do not. So if you or your loved one has been denied the benefits they need and deserve, an experienced VA benefits lawyer in Waltham might be able to help.
At Morgan and Morgan, we have helped countless veterans like you, including their families, apply for benefits following a service-related injury. For this reason, we might also be able to help you (or your loved one) get monthly compensation based on your eligibility as a veteran or a dependent of a veteran.
Are Family Members of Disabled Veterans Eligible for Benefits?
Certain family members of injured, sick, or disabled veterans may be eligible for benefits. The same applies to family members of an eligible veteran who has died.
Can I Lose My Disability Benefits?
It is quite rare but not impossible to lose your disability benefits. You have special protection from termination of benefits if you have been receiving benefits for more than ten years. However, this also does not mean that the VA cannot terminate your benefits if they find a good reason to do so.
For example, if they discover that you committed fraud when you applied for benefits, meaning you have been fraudulently receiving benefits, termination of benefits might be possible. The same applies if the VA determines that your injury or illness is unrelated to your military service.
It is also important to note that the VA will not abruptly terminate your benefits even if they have a reason to. Rather, they will notify you of their intentions to terminate your benefits. If you believe their reason for terminating your benefits is unjustified, you should immediately contact an experienced veterans benefits attorney.
Can the VA Reduce My Benefits?
Yes, the VA can reduce your benefits if they find a valid reason. In fact, they are more likely to reduce your benefits than terminate them.
If jailed for a felony, your disability rating will drop to 10% of the original total benefit. This drop will occur on the 61st day of your sentence. If your original total benefit is already at 10%, it will drop further to 5%.
You may also need to go through a reexamination. This mostly happens if they believe that your disability is not permanent. In other words, there is a possibility that your disability will improve with time.
After the reexamination, the government agency will decide whether or not to keep your current benefits. This decision derives the results of the reexamination. If determined that your disability has improved, your disability rating will drop, including your monthly payments.
However, as discussed below, reexamining might not be required in certain situations. In general, you will not need reexamination if:
- you suffered an injury that cannot improve with time, such as a lost limb;
- you are a veteran aged 55 years or older;
- you have a disability rating of the lowest threshold; or
- you have multiple disabilities that would otherwise increase the ratings if one disability improved.
How Can a Veterans Benefits Lawyer Help?
If you are planning to apply for benefits for the first time or the VA has denied your application, contacting an experienced veterans benefits lawyer is the way to go. Here is how much an attorney can help:
Personalized legal assistance: Each application for benefits is different. For this reason, there is no one-fits-all solution to these cases. What works for you will probably not work for another veteran or their beneficiary. This is because people suffer different injuries and illnesses at different levels. When you hire an attorney, they will provide personalized legal aid designed to suit the unique circumstances of your case.
Expert advice: Let's face it—most people who apply for benefits do not know where to start with the application. And those that know where to start may not know how to proceed with the application process. But this has nothing to do with them; rather, it has everything to do with the complex nature of these applications. In addition, VA benefits laws change all the time. For this reason, you need someone who is constantly updated about these laws and knows how to navigate these complex processes to meet the VA's requirements. That is where an attorney comes in.
Better outcomes: The VA receives thousands of applications for benefits every year. Some of these cases are valid, while others may be fraudulent, erroneous, etc. For this reason, the government agency will not automatically trust your application. In fact, they will likely doubt your disability or even give you a lower rating than you deserve. If you disagree with the VA's decision, an attorney can help you challenge them.
For example, let's say the VA concluded that you did not qualify because your injuries were not serious enough to justify the need for benefits. In that case, your attorney can help you file an appeal and also conduct an independent medical exam, also known as an IME, to prove your eligibility.
Earlier, we mentioned that the agency takes years to review these applications for benefits. The last thing you want is to spend years waiting only to realize that your petition was denied due to avoidable errors. Since attorneys are familiar with the common reasons for denials, they can always help you avoid these mistakes along the way.
However, this does not mean that having an attorney will expedite your application. Rather, it means you will have a better chance of being approved for benefits once the agency finally reviews your petition.
How Do I Find the Right Veterans Benefits Attorney to Handle My Case?
When looking for the right veterans benefits attorney in Waltham to handle your case, you will need to consider the following factors:
- Whether the attorney is VA-accredited
- How long they have been practicing veterans law
- Whether they can help you get the highest possible rating for your disability
- Whether they can help you file an appeal if your initial application is denied and if they will represent you throughout the process
- Whether the lawyer or law firm has the legal resources to fight for your disability claim
- Their track record of handling such cases
How Morgan and Morgan Veterans Benefits Lawyer in Waltham Can Help
There is no doubt that hiring an attorney significantly improves your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. However, some people do not realize that the kind of attorney they hire will also influence the outcome of their case. Given the huge government backlog, you need someone who will improve your chances of being approved. In addition, you need someone who understands your pain and how important these benefits are to you and your loved ones.
At Morgan and Morgan, some of our attorneys have served in the US military. For this reason, they understand how VA laws work. But, most importantly, they can relate to your pain.
But that is not all—Morgan and Morgan is the largest injury law firm in the United States, serving clients in Waltham, Massachusetts, and the entire nation. As a result, we have powerful resources to fight for you when the VA denies your application for benefits. With over $15 billion already won for our clients in different cases, our attorneys are always hungry to win even more by fighting even harder for their clients.
If you believe that you are eligible for benefits, but the VA does not believe your eligibility, contact us for a free case evaluation. We might be able to help.