Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Veterans (VA) Benefits
Ask a VA Attorney for Legal Advice
Whenever someone has served in the United States military, they could be eligible for a variety of benefits, especially if they were injured or fell ill as a result of their military service. In these situations, it is important to know which benefit the Veteran is eligible for as well as how to file successfully for that benefit. If a VA claim is denied, this does not signal the end of the road in regard to the Veteran receiving help; VA attorneys are experienced at appealing VA benefits claims and can offer invaluable guidance to make the entire process as quick and painless as possible.
When considering filing for a VA disability claim in order to receive VA benefits for a military injury or illness, it is important to collect any evidence or documentation which could support the eligibility of that Veteran. It’s also a good idea to collect supporting statements from people who can confirm the existence and severity of the disability. All of this information will be combined with a properly filled out VA disability application form which can be done online, by mail, or in-person to offer a Veteran the best chance at receiving the benefits they have earned.
Types of VA Disability Claims
The kind of injury or illness a Veteran suffered, as well as their specific needs regarding the disability, can affect the kind of VA disability claim a Veteran should file for. Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) and accredited VA attorneys are well-versed in evaluating a Veteran’s situation to determine what kind of claim is necessary, as well as how to apply for that claim in the most effective way possible.
Common types of VA disability benefits claims include:
- Original claim: This is the first claim a Veteran files for benefits regarding their disability. This claim can be filed up to 180 days before leaving the military.
- Increased claim: If the disability for which the original claim was filed has gotten worse since the original claim, a Veteran may choose to file a claim for a VA disability benefits increase to compensate the worsened damage.
- New claim: A Veteran can file a new claim to request additional benefits including additional financial support, special payments, and special benefits to help a Veteran if they are no longer able to work due to their military disability.
- Secondary service-connected claim: This kind of claim is applicable when a new disability arises in connection to the disability a Veteran already has.
- Special claim: This type of claim is applicable only when a Veteran has or develops special needs linked to their disability.
- Supplemental claim: If the original claim a Veteran made for disability benefits was denied, they can use new evidence to file a new or supplemental claim.
Common Eligible Conditions for VA Benefits
There are a wide variety of injuries and illnesses that could result in a Veteran’s eligibility for VA benefits when they result in lasting damage or disability. However, there are a variety of common conditions for which many Veterans receive assistance every year. Proving the existence of and effect of these conditions on a Veterans life is paramount to receiving adequate VA disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions for which Veterans receive VA benefits include:
- Chronic back pain resulting in a diagnosed back disability
- Breathing problems due to a lung condition
- Hearing loss
- Loss of range of motion
- Cancers caused by contact with toxic substances
- Traumatic brain injuries
Applying for VA Benefits
If you or a loved one served in the military and fell injured or ill as a result, it’s important to understand the process of applying for VA benefits, as well as what benefits you are eligible to apply for. To learn more about the specific benefits available to Veterans, go here. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, depending on the nature of you or your family member’s military service and/or injuries, a VA attorney may identify possible claims for benefits such as:
- Pre-Discharge Program for Servicemembers. If you are a member of the armed forces serving on either active duty or full-time National Guard duty, you can apply through the VA Pre-Discharge Program before officially leaving your military service if you have an illness or injury you believe was caused or worsened by military service.
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits for Servicemembers and Veterans. This benefit is designed to help Veterans obtain job training, employment accommodations, resume development help, and to build job-seeking skills after service.
- Disability Compensation Benefits for Veterans. This is one of the most commonly utilized benefits for Veterans, designed to offer financial assistance to servicemembers who suffered an injury or illness during their military service that continues to affect them in the form of an official disability.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Benefits for Survivors and Dependents. This benefit applies when you are the surviving spouse, child, or parent of a service member who either died in the line of duty, or passed away due to a service-related injury or illness. If the death occurred in service, a Military Casualty Assistance Officer will be able to assist with completing the correct VA forms.
- Pension Benefits for Veterans. This is a benefits program designed to assist Veterans and their families into their later years with supplemental income.
- Education Benefits for Veterans. If you have served the United States military in any capacity you could be eligible to receive education benefits from any VA-approved institution. Consult with the VA Certifying Official—who is usually in the Registrar’s or Financial Aid office—at the school of your choice to learn more.
- Home Loan Benefits for Servicemembers and Veterans. This benefit exists to help servicemembers, Veterans, and surviving spouses become homeowners, including related programs that can help repair, retain, and adapt homes as necessary. You may also apply for a home loan certificate of eligibility through your lender.
- Life Insurance Benefits for Servicemembers, Veterans, and Survivors. This benefit exists to offer low-cost term coverage to eligible service members. Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage is automatic. You do not need to apply. However, to designate beneficiaries, reduce, decline, or restore SGLI coverage, you must use either the SGLI Online Enrollment System (SOES) or fill out the proper form.
If you or a loved one need assistance filing a VA benefits claim, figuring out which VA benefits you are eligible for, or if previous claims have been denied and/or other factors are complicating the process, contact a VA attorney to learn what they can do for you and your family to get the help you deserve.