Many veterans find themselves suffering from physical or mental disabilities sustained during their time on active duty. If these kinds of conditions impact your civilian life, you may qualify for VA disability compensation benefits. However, navigating the process of obtaining these benefits can be complex and challenging, especially when dealing with Winston-Salem veterans’ disability appeals, as it is necessary to prove both that you have a disabling condition and that your condition is the result of an event that occurred while you were on active duty. Further, any former servicemember who receives a denial from the VA can pursue an appeal in order to obtain the benefits that they deserve.
A Winston-Salem veterans’ disability appeals lawyer can prepare you to pursue your disability benefits claim by explaining the qualification criteria and helping you identify which event led to your service-connected injuries. Our team can also help you file an appeal if you are denied compensation.
The VA’s disability compensation program offers benefits to former servicemembers who sustained injuries during active duty. This means that you must establish that you have a disabling condition and that your condition resulted from a specific event that occurred during your time on active duty.
Applicants for VA disability benefits must meet a very specific set of criteria, the first of which is that they actually have a disabling condition. In addition to diagnosing and treating service-connected injuries, VA doctors can also determine whether a condition leaves a veteran permanently disabled for the purposes of a benefits application.
Disabling conditions can be physical, mental, or a combination of both. For instance, a former servicemember may be left unable to work after sustaining an injury on active duty, but this may not be enough to qualify as a disability under the VA’s definitions. However, unemployability may also affect a veteran’s mental well-being, as it is not uncommon for them to suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns following an incident.
The simplest way to establish the extent to which an injury affects your life is to visit a doctor who can diagnose your physical or mental conditions. Common examples of qualifying service-related injuries include:
It should be noted that you can connect your condition to an incident that occurred during active duty, training accidents, or logistics or maintenance work. A Winston-Salem veterans’ disability appeals attorney can help you understand the qualifying factors for VA disability compensation benefits, as well as help you trace the origin of your service-connected injury. Click here to view the latest 2022 va disability rates.
The final aspect of a VA disability claim in Winston-Salem is demonstrating the extent of your disability. While some veterans only receive treatment from a VA doctor, this is not necessarily the best course of action. Although the VA may provide treatment for a condition while simultaneously allowing them to directly collect and record information about your service-connected injuries, if inaccurate information is recorded it can dramatically affect your appeal.
Another major component of successful VA disability claims in Winston-Salem involves your character of discharge. Generally, only veterans who left the military on good terms can receive benefits. You can present your DD-214 paperwork with a discharge other than Dishonorable to qualify for most benefits. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, so you should contact VetLaw’s team of attorneys to discuss the specific circumstances surrounding your service.
You can initiate a claim for disability benefits through the VA’s online application portal, or you can submit VA Form 21-526EZ through the mail. Both processes require you to provide information about your medical conditions, your time in the military that caused your conditions, and your discharge status. A veterans’ disability appeals lawyer in Winston-Salem could help you file for benefits.
Failure to provide any of the required information—or simply presenting a case that fails to persuade the VA of your qualifications for benefits—may result in a denial or an offer of incomplete benefits. Regardless of the reason for a denial, you should consult with VetLaw’s team of attorneys to review your case and provide a recommendation on how to proceed. A qualified lawyer in Winston-Salem who has experience with veterans’ disability litigation can help you pursue an appeal for your VA benefits.
It is not uncommon for veterans to receive a denial after filing an application for VA’s disability compensation benefits program. In fact, most applicants will receive a denial before eventually obtaining the benefits that they deserve, so far from always representing the end of a claim, a denial can actually be a precursor to receiving benefits.
Depending on the reasons for your denial, you may want a VA-accredited attorney, like the team at VetLaw to assist you in either filing a supplemental claim with new evidence or in filing an appeal of your decision, including the option of having a formal hearing before a judge. A Winston-Salem veterans’ disability appeals lawyer can evaluate your options for a VA disability appeal and help you submit required paperwork, gather new evidence, and appear in person with you at a BVA hearing before a judge.
Applicants for VA disability compensation benefits must meet specific criteria. For example, they must be former servicemembers who have received a discharge under honorable conditions, suffer from a disabling condition that affects their current health, and can point to a specific incident during active duty that caused their disability.
Failure to meet any of these criteria may result in a denial. For instance, a veteran whose DD-214 shows a Dishonorable discharge is generally barred from receiving most VA benefits.
Other rejections, however, can be more nuanced. Some cases may dispute the extent of a former servicemember’s disability, leading to an appeal that asks for greater benefits than those offered by the VA. A Winston-Salem VA disability appeals attorney can review the VA’s reasons for denying your application and assist you in proving that an inappropriate disability rating has led to an insufficient benefits package.
All veterans who receive a decision from VA have several options to choose from depending on the date of their denial letter or rating decision.
For decisions issued prior to February 2019, veterans have one year from the mailing of their initial decision to file an appeal. The appeal process begins with submitting a notice of disagreement, which asks former servicemembers to state their reasons for filing the appeal, note any specific areas where they feel that an error occurred, and select an appeal path. This selection can have a profound impact on your VA disability appeal, so you should consult with VetLaw’s team of attorneys before submitting this form.
For decisions issued after February 2019, there are multiple options to choose. If you have new evidence to submit, the fastest path may be to submit a supplemental claim. If you do not have any further evidence to submit, you may want to choose a Higher Level Review, or HLR, decision. This path is generally relatively quick and allows a more experienced VA employee time to review your case and issue a new decision
Finally, the most intensive appeal path involves requesting a review of your case with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. This option generally takes more time but also may offer the best chance for success. Although hearings are optional, the ability to present your case in person before a Veterans’ Law Judge is very helpful for many veterans. A veterans’ disability appeals lawyer in Winston Salem can evaluate your options and help you choose the legal path that presents the best chances for a successful appeal.
In addition to proving the severity of an injury, a veteran must also connect their disabling condition to their time on active duty. Injuries sustained while in combat, during active-duty training, or while serving in a support or administrative capacity could qualify for benefits.
The VA commonly disputes whether a condition is service-related, especially when a person enters the service with a preexisting condition. For example, many military members suffer from asthma, vision problems, or partial deafness before entering service. If applicable, it may be an applicant’s responsibility to demonstrate how active-duty service aggravated their pre-existing conditions, though in certain limited circumstances the burden falls upon VA to show the condition did not become worse.
In the same vein, a former servicemember should point to a specific incident which occurred during active duty that caused their disability. A dedicated VA disability benefits denial lawyer in Winston-Salem could further explain the VA’s service-connection requirement and gather evidence to support your claim.
The receipt of a denial letter after applying for VA disability compensation benefits can be disheartening, to say the least. However, this is often a normal part of the process, as receiving benefits after a single application is rare. Fortunately, a VA-accredited attorney can help you understand the reasons for your denial and pursue an effective appeal.
The VA may deny a claim for many reasons—like providing an inaccurate date of an injury, for example. Other cases can be more complex, and you and the VA may disagree as about the extent of your injury and its effects on your current health.
A Winston-Salem veterans’ disability appeals lawyer can help you move your case forward by explaining the legal reasons for your denial, choosing an appeal path that may support your case, and filing paperwork on your behalf. Your time to file an appeal may be running out, so call our team today to schedule a consultation.