If you bravely served your country and developed a disabling health condition due to your military service, it is time you applied for your rightful disability compensation. Contact a veterans disability lawyer in Monroe for help.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) awards disability compensation to veterans with a non-dishonorable discharge who have a disabling condition that can be connected to their experiences during active duty. This may apply if you were injured during service and received a medical discharge, or if you retired after serving and later developed a disabling condition.
Unlike Social Security disability benefits, where only certain conditions qualify a person for benefits, veterans’ disability benefits can be awarded for any type of health condition that impairs the veteran as long as the cause of the condition can be traced back to their military service. Proving the service connection is easier if you were injured during your service and that injury resulted in a permanent impairment such as an amputated limb.
However, in many cases veterans are discharged without suffering from any apparent disabling conditions. It is not until sometime after their return to civilian life that they discover they suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Agent Orange-related illnesses, or chronic muscular or skeletal pain. These conditions are just a few examples of the types of health concerns that can be connected to your time served in the military.
In order to qualify for disability compensation from the VA, you must first have any type of discharge order except dishonorable. Next, you must present medical evidence of your disabling condition and the severity to which it impairs your well-being. Finally, you must submit any relevant dependency records to obtain the proper compensation rates.
Once it is verified that your discharge or separation type qualifies you for benefits, the VA will assess whether or not your health condition was acquired because of or during your military service. Providing medical records from VA health care facilities is often enough to establish this connection. However, you may require an Independent Medical Exam (IME) in order to obtain a proper assessment of the severity of your condition and how it relates to your military service.
After verifying your service-connected disability, the VA will assess your degree of disability with a disability rating. They use this percentage to calculate the amount of compensation you are entitled to once they verify your dependents. The higher the disability rating and the more dependents you have, the higher the amount of your monthly benefits.
In an ideal situation, your application for veterans’ disability compensation contains your discharge or separation papers (your DD214 or an equivalent form), complete medical records that identify your condition and how it relates to your service, and your marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates (if applicable). If you have all of these documents, you are able to submit a Fully Developed Claim (FDC), which can expedite the decision on your claim.
Unfortunately, many veterans have difficulty producing these records. Obtaining medical records can be difficult if you were treated and diagnosed by both VA and private practice medical professionals. If your medical evidence does not show a strong enough connection to your military service, you may be denied a disability rating. Some Vietnam War veterans find that their service in an area with Agent Orange exposure risk cannot be verified, resulting in a denial of any service-connection to their health conditions.
Even if your discharge is verified and your medical records approved, many veterans receive a low initial disability rating. Remember that you have the right to appeal any decision, even an approval at a low rating, before accepting your veterans’ disability compensation application results.
Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault & Schaffer Co., L.P.A. supports our veterans and is dedicated to assisting them in obtaining the benefits they earned by serving our country. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation, or call us directly at 419-843-6663 to learn about your options for veterans’ disability compensation.
Jack Gallon Building
3516 Granite Circle
Toledo, OH 43617