Not all disabilities are known immediately upon separation from the military, some won’t show up for months, even years after you’ve rejoined the civilian ranks. Sometimes it is difficult for the service member to connect the onset of unwanted medical symptoms to the event(s) that actually led to the health condition. That’s why it is vital to seek treatment for any problem that lingers or worsens with time.
Unfortunately, the application and benefits appeals process can be long, and some veterans just grow tired of fighting this battle alone. When this happens, our Veterans benefits attorney will work with the medical experts at Harrell & Harrell to establish an accurate veteran’s disability with the appropriate service. Let our team of veterans start fighting for you today. We will stand firm during this overwhelming process and will fight on your behalf for the disability benefits you deserve.
Once your claim has been denied, or if you are not satisfied with your disability rating, we can help you file a Notice of Disagreement with your local VA regional office. Don’t let time pass you by, you only have one year from the date of the decision to put the VA on notice that you want to appeal your claim. If you filed a Notice of Disagreement and received a Statement of the Case, you then have 60 days from the date of the Statement of the Case (or one year from the decision of the Veterans Affairs, whichever is longer) to submit the proper paperwork to the VA.
A traumatic brain injury (“TBI”), also referred to as an “acquired brain injury” or just a “head injury,” occurs when there is a sudden trauma that damages the brain. Symptoms of a mild TBI can include:
While most symptoms are mild, it is vital that you mention all your symptoms to your treating physician. Since symptoms can last for over a year, it is important to keep a diary so you can inform the VA of changes to your health status as your claim progresses.
Currently, it is estimated that 320,000 current or former combat troops have suffered some type of TBI, mostly due to Improvised Explosive Devices (“IEDs”). Over one-third of those returning home are diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress; this alone has put a strain on military providers to get them the help they need. If you think you have Post-Traumatic Stress, it is vital that you continue to seek treatment for any symptoms that may be related to your injuries.
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) has directly affected over 2 million military members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves. Even with the advancements in field medicine, Uncle Sam was simply not prepared for the large number of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen that returned home with a broad spectrum of medical conditions. This has in turn caused increased waiting time for proper medical treatment and a back log of claims for compensation.
Once the local VA regional office gets your Notice of Disagreement, they will send a Statement of the Case, which is a more detailed version of why your claim was denied, along with what laws, medical evidence and procedures they used in determining their decision to deny your claim. After the Notice of Disagreement is filed, you do have the option to request that a Decisions Review Officer take a second look at your file.
Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (“DIC”) is for survivors of veterans who died while they were either on active duty, or dies when they were receiving 100% disability. Not all survivors qualify because the qualifications are based on your unique financial needs. Pension benefits are for non-service related disabilities. You must have wartime service, low income, and be total and permanently disabled.
What will my appeal cost me?
If we obtain a retroactive award for you, we receive a percentage of that award, which is a contingency fee. If we do not prevail, you owe us nothing.
Can I get both Social Security benefits and VA benefits?
Yes. However this only applies to SSD benefits and VA Compensation (disability) benefits. It does not apply to SSI or VA pension benefits.
Are my compensation benefits taxable?
No. Compensation benefits are tax-free.
Can I reopen an old claim?
With Veterans Compensation claims, once the VA has decided and the claim was not appealed, it becomes final and binding. However, a final and binding claim can be challenged two ways: (1) by “Clear and Unmistakable Error” (“CUE”); and (2) with “new and material evidence.” CUE is a fancy legal argument that the VA’s decision was incorrect. New and material evidence is information that you did not have at the time of your claim that would have proved your claim. There is a high burden of legal proof for each challenge, but they can be proven.
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