What Benefits are Available for Veterans? The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several major veteran disability benefits programs: (1) service-connected veteran disability compensation (compensation) and (2) non-service-connected veteran disability pension.
In August 2019, 4.7 million veterans, or 25 percent of the total, had a service-connected disability. More than $50 billion dollars was spent on veteran disability benefits programs, with veterans receiving compensation benefits and veterans receiving pension benefits.
VA benefits may not always be easy to obtain, though with the help of an attorney, you may able to receive benefits related to PTSD, sleep disorders, hearing loss, mental health disorders, unemployment, head injuries and toxic exposures.
Joseph M. Lyon is a VA Disability lawyer. If you are a disabled veteran or a family member of a deceased veteran you may be eligible for veteran disability compensation, please call for a free consultation.
The veteran files the initial veterans disability compensation application. This is done individually with the assistance of the local veterans administration Regional Office. A VA disability lawyer cannot assist with the initial application;
An initial decision is made and a notice of its decision is mailed to the claimant. The claimant may appeal within one-year from the date of the decision. An attorney may be retained a this level.
The appellate process is begun by filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) at the Regional Office.
After an NOD is filed, the Regional Office asks the claimant whether he or she desires a “de novo” review of the claim (that is, a new and complete review without giving any weight to the previous RO denial) by a Decision Review Officer (DRO).
If the claimant does not request a DRO review, or if DRO review is requested and the DRO does not grant the claim, the RO then mails a Statement of the Case (SOC). This statement is intended to explain the reasons for the RO’s denial.
The period within which to perfect an appeal to the BVA begins after the RO mails the SOC. An appeal is perfected by filing a timely Substantive Appeal, which is customarily filed on a special form (VA Form 9).
The period for filing the Substantive Appeal is within either sixty days from the date of the SOC or the remainder of the one-year period from the date of the Regional Office’s notice of its decision, whichever period ends later
Once the Substantive Appeal is filed, the case is then transferred to the Board of Veteran’s Appeals which, after an opportunity for a hearing and presentation of additional evidence is afforded to the claimant, renders its decision.
Proving Service Connection for VA Compensation
In order to qualify for “service connected” veteran disability compensation, the veteran must provide “competent evidence” to satisfy the following requirements:
Existence of a medical diagnosis of current disability,
A connection between the veteran’s service and the disability,
Degree of disability, and
Effective date of disability.
The VA also pays a form of compensation to surviving spouses, children, and parents of deceased veterans whose deaths were caused by service-connected conditions. This benefit is called dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC).
Non-Service VA Disability Pension
Pension benefits are similar to supplemental social security income (SSI). To be eligible, the veteran must demonstrate: (1) wartime service, (2) low income, and (3) total and permanent disability.
As of September 17, 2001, veterans aged sixty-five years and over are conclusively presumed to be permanently and totally disabled for pension purposes.
Veteran PTSD Claims
Post traumatic stress disorder can plague almost any military service veteran who has been deployed and has been involved in combat operations. Fortunately, the U.S. recognizes PTSD now, and veterans can be treated and receive benefits following a PTSD diagnosis.
Regardless of the original trauma that caused long-term debilitating stress and anxiety, victims of PTSD suffer, and may have a successful claim against the party responsible for their trauma. Victims may also have claims for the mismanagement of treatment and against drug companies that market dangerous drugs to a vulnerable portion of the population.
Every PTSD claim is comprised of a unique set of personal factors and it is advisable to seek out an experienced personal injury attorney to assist in the legal process.
Veteran Hearing Loss Claims
Hearing loss is one of the more common injuries that veterans suffer after seeing combat for extended periods of time. Compounding the problem with the high-decibel noise of heavy machinery and artillery, defective earplugs were provided to the military.
As a result of defective combat earplugs, veterans have lost hearing and have suffered tinnitus. When full benefits cannot be recovered, veterans have filed lawsuits against 3M, the company responsible for providing the military with the defective earplugs.
Agent Orange Exposure Benefits
After many years of ignoring the terrible consequences of using Agent Orange in the Vietnam War, the US government is not paying benefits to certain veterans with cancers and other conditions related to Agent Orange exposure.
The benefits are contingent upon meeting some service and medical conditions, and veterans should contact The Lyon Firm if they have difficulty filing claims or obtaining rightful benefits.
Burn Pit Injury Benefits
Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan often stayed at or visited bases that had burn pits in or around the camp. These burn pits were extremely hazardous to the health of service men and women, and many veterans have developed severe respiratory illnesses as a result.
Any veteran who has been diagnosed with cancer or a respiratory disease after burn pit exposure in Iraq or Afghanistan may have a burn pit exposure claim.
Camp Lejeune Cases
The men and women and families stationed at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s to the 1980s were potentially exposed to extremely dangerous industrial solvents, pesticides, heavy metals like benzene and other chemicals. Unfortunately, for the servicemen and women and their families — officials at Camp Lejeune knew about the contaminated water supply for at least 5 years before they shut down the wells.
It was a sad episode in US Military history, and an episode Dan Rather called, “the worst example of water contamination this country has ever seen.”
It is tragic that the men and women tasked with protection our land would be injured, not by bullets or grenades, but by waterborne pathogens. They were injured by the very land they swore to protect.
The following list of diseases are completely or partially covered by the VA if you or your loved one can demonstrate probable exposure at Camp Lejeune.
Joe Lyon has handled successfully resolved many Camp Lejeune cases and is currently accepting new cases on a contingency fee basis.
Respiratory Cancer Claims
The VA has proposed adding the following rare respiratory cancers to the service-connected injury list:
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the larynx;
SCC of the trachea;
Adenocarcinoma of the trachea;
Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea;
Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung;
Large cell carcinoma of the lung;
Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung;
Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung and;
Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung.
Veterans who have been diagnosed with one of these cancers to a degree of 0% or more at any time during or after service would become eligible for service-connection.
The new claims will be focused on the Southwest Asia theater of operations, including Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea.
A Voice for American Veterans
Rightful VA Disability Benefits
VA Disability benefit cases are increasingly important in a time where so many veterans have been exposed to toxins, have lost their hearing due to ineffective earplugs, have suffered PTSD, have serious mental health issues, and cannot find decent employment.
The following disability compensation benefits are available to Veterans:
Disability Compensation – a monthly monetary benefit paid to Veterans who are disabled by an injury or disease that was incurred in or aggravated by active military service.
Automobile Allowance – financial assistance provided to help eligible severely disabled Servicemembers and Veterans purchase or adapt an automobile to accommodate their disabilities
Clothing Allowance – annual stipend(s) provided to disabled Veterans who have unique clothing needs as a result of a service-connected disability or injury.
Specially Adapted Housing/ Special Home Adaptation Grants – provides monetary benefits to adapt or obtain suitable housing for eligible severely disabled Veterans
Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI) – provides life insurance coverage to Veterans who have been given a VA rating for a new service-connected disability in the last two years. Totally disabled Veterans are eligible for free insurance premiums and have the opportunity to purchase additional insurance
Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) – provides mortgage life insurance protection to disabled Veterans who have been approved for a VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) – provides educational and training services to Veterans with service-connected illnesses and injuries to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment
Education Assistance – provides education benefits to Veterans to assist with obtaining a degree or with pursuing other eligible education and training
Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) – provides assistance to survivors or dependents of Veterans to obtain a degree
Disability compensation is a monthly benefit paid to Veterans who are at least 10% disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active duty for training. A disability can apply to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee condition, as well as a mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you were on inactive duty for training, the disability must have resulted from injury, heart attack, or stroke. Your discharge from service must have been under other than dishonorable conditions. Compensation varies depending on the degree of your disability.
If you have dependents, an additional allowance may be added if your combined disability is rated 30% or greater. Your compensation may be offset if you receive military retirement pay, disability severance pay, or separation incentive payments.
VA presumes that some disabilities are due to military service. You may be eligible to receive service-connected disability benefits if you have a qualifying disability associated with certain conditions of service, such as:
» Former Prisoners of War » Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange » Gulf War Veterans with undiagnosed illnesses and medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses.
A service-connected disability is related to an injury or disease that developed during or was aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training. VA also pays disability compensation for disabilities resulting from injury, heart attack, or stroke that occurred during inactive duty training.
VA disability benefits depend on your level of disability and stats of dependents. You can calculate what you think you may deserve at the VA Web site: https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/veteran-rates/