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Veteran Disability Compensation Claim Process

Laura Thomas July 2, 2018

As the 4th of July approaches, the attorneys at Biesterveld & Crook, LLC thank veterans and service members for their brave sacrifices. Our attorneys represent veterans seeking VA disability compensation for service-connected disabilities.

Pursuing a VA disability claim can be a difficult and grueling process. Unless however the veteran hires an attorney, who has both personal and professional experience with the VA. Biesterveld & Crook, LLC attorneys at Biesterveld & Crook, LLC is a combat veteran who served in Iraq with the United States Army in 2004. Mr. Crook understands the needs of military members and the difficulty in navigating the VA claims process.

Mr. Crook is accredited by the VA to represent veterans in the claims process. He is familiar with the Veterans Benefits Manual, which is a detailed guide for advocates aiding veterans in making use of their benefits from the VA. Two different disability benefit programs are operated by the VA: VA compensation and VA pension.

VA Compensation

Disability compensation is the result of a veteran being injured, or receiving another form of disability, connected to their service. This monthly benefit covers anything that occurred during the veteran member’s service time. Contrary to popular belief, this compensation is not based on financial needs of the individual, but rather the degree of disability.

VA Pension

VA pension is based on income but is paid on the basis of disabilities not resulting from active service in the military. Contacting a VA representative can solve most questions or concerns an individual may have. VA Compensation is the disability benefit most lawyers are contacted about.

Components of Disability Claims

Medical Diagnosis – Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most common and is defined as a mental disorder. To obtain this official diagnosis, a doctor must be in good standing with the VA and render the diagnosis on certain criteria.

Stressor – A stressor refers to a stressful event that caused the trauma. Witnessing a specific incident during war would be considered a stressor. Evidence of this stressful event must be provided. If a veteran is diagnosed with PTSD, that veteran’s own recollection of the stressor is enough evidence of the event in many circumstances.

Service connection – Proving the service connection between the diagnosis and the stressor is the final step. Medical records often contain this information, but if records do not show this – additional evidence may be requested.

Claims Assessment

Once a veteran establishes the claim elements, a percentage of disability is assigned to the case by the VA. This percentage draws conclusions on the veteran’s experiences and symptoms. Payment is then figured based upon the degree to which the veteran’s disability would impair the average person earning a living wage in the United States. The higher the disability rating percentage, the higher the monthly payment benefit.

Setting the date for these monthly benefits is determined by the VA after looking at the date of receiving the claim and the date the entitlement to benefit arose. If the veteran does not agree with the date determined, an appeal may be submitted through the VA.

Filing Claims

An application for disability compensation and benefits form must be obtained from the VA. Once it is accurately and completely filled out, required dependent records must be included, as instructed by the VA. These documents can be mailed, taken to the nearest VA office, or can be completed online. It is strongly recommended that a copy of all submitted documents be kept by the submitting individual, for any future use or discrepancy.

The attorneys at Biesterveld & Crook, LLC appreciate the sacrifices made by service members. In return, they fight for fair and adequate benefits for veterans. To contact an attorney, call today. Initial consultations are free and may be requested over the phone or by going online.

June 2018. Whitehead, Marc. “Unlock Veterans’ Disability Benefits”. American Association for Justice Trial magazine.