There are many steps to obtaining VA disability benefits, including proving that you have a disabling condition and that it is connected to your active duty military service, among other things.
The VA disability claims process is notoriously complicated and difficult to complete without error, and the VA routinely denies qualifying veterans based on simple mistakes made during the application process. Do not delay in getting the veterans’ disability benefits you need and deserve. Work with a Florida veterans’ disability lawyer at Chiappetta Trial Lawyers.
- To qualify for disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), former military service members must provide a current disability diagnosis, proof that their disability is service-connected, and meet all other requirements imposed by the VA.
- The VA awards benefits according to a rating scale. Specifically, veterans are given a “disability rating” to indicate their level of impairment and, in turn, level of benefits owed to them.
- Veterans do not have to accept a denial or low disability rating at face value. Former service members can file an appeal of their veterans’ disability benefits application for reconsideration.
Proving Your Disability
The VA will not award disability benefits to veterans who are not disabled. Veterans in Florida and elsewhere seeking disability benefits from the VA must prove that they have a disabling condition. For a condition to qualify as disabling, a veteran must provide proof of diagnosis and demonstrate how the condition affects their mind and/or body.
Former service members can submit several pieces of evidence to the VA to prove that they suffer from a disabling condition, including private medical records, VA hospital records, and supporting statements from doctors and loved ones. The more details a veteran can provide about their disability, the better. The VA needs a complete understanding of an applicant’s disabling condition and its limitations on their daily life in order to assign an accurate disability rating.
Establishing an In-Service Connection
Establishing a connection between a veteran’s disability and their active duty military service is one of the most challenging steps in the VA disability claims process. Also known as a “medical nexus,” proving service connection generally requires documentation of an event that occurred during a veteran’s active duty service which directly led to their current disability. Attorney Nick Chiappetta can help gather military documents that show an in-service event or conditions that could have caused or contributed to your disability.
Some disabilities are so commonly linked to military service that they automatically qualify for VA disability benefits based on a presumption of service-connection.
This means that certain mental health conditions, physical conditions, and chronic illnesses may be presumptively connected to a veteran’s active duty service, depending on when and where they served. For example, certain disabilities have been linked to toxic chemicals used during the Gulf War and will automatically qualify a veteran for VA benefits based on a presumption of service-connection.
Duration of Service and Discharge Status
In addition to proving that they have a disability and that it is service-connected, a veteran must also meet the VA’s duration of service requirement and prove that they were discharged from the military under honorable conditions. The minimum amount of time a veteran is required to have served on active duty will depend on when they served, and they must provide documentation of discharge conditions other than dishonorable to qualify for veterans’ disability benefits. Our Florida VA disability attorney can help compile this information and evidence to strengthen an application for veterans’ disability compensation.
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VA Disability Ratings
Once a veteran’s disability is established and service-connected, the VA will rate their disability from 0 to 100% according to their level of impairment, with 100% representing permanent and total disability. It is also possible to submit multiple disabilities for a higher combined rating from the VA. Additionally, a former service member who can prove that their disability prevents them from working may qualify for Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits, which would earn them a 100% disability rating.
A veteran will receive monthly benefits in proportion to their assigned disability percentage.
If the VA determines that there is not sufficient evidence to support their disability claim, it will deny a former service member’s application for benefits. In either case, Chiappetta Trial Lawyers can help file an appeal of denied VA disability benefits or to have an insufficient disability rating reassessed for a higher percentage of impairment.
Appealing a Denied VA Disability Claim
When a veteran receives a denial letter from the VA regarding their application for disability benefits, it is not the end of the process. In fact, many qualifying applicants are denied veterans’ disability benefits due to clerical errors in their claims. Appeals are a normal part of VA disability claims and may require new evidence and the resubmission of old evidence with added context or supporting documents. If you received a VA disability benefits denial, do not worry – Chiappetta Trial Lawyers is here to fight on your behalf.
Let a Florida Veterans’ Disability Attorney Fight for You
You have already sacrificed so much to serve and defend this country, let our firm defend your right to receive disability benefits from the VA. A Florida veterans’ disability lawyer with Chiappetta Trial Lawyers can confidently represent your case and handle all correspondences with the VA on your behalf. Attorney Chiappetta can help gather your military and medical records, collect statements from your loved ones, establish a medical nexus, and effectively appeal any denial letters from the VA.
Don’t go into battle alone, Chiappetta is here to help.