If you served in the military, you dedicated your time and your life for your country. You were dedicated, you followed orders, and you helped keep the United States of America a safer place for everyone. You’re a hero by all rights.
So, when you’ve been injured in military service and you’re unable to work, you deserve disability benefits to make up that loss of wages so you can live comfortably. To do this, you need to file for a disability claim through the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The VA can be tough and their policies and rules on disability benefits can be difficult to navigate. If you’ve been denied your claim or you know you should receive more than the VA is offering you in terms of disability compensation, it’s time to hire an experienced lawyer.
We’re going to learn the steps of filing for veterans with a disability and how a lawyer can help you accomplish this big process.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer
Whether you’ve suffered from a mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder or another stress disorder, or one of the many disabled veterans who may have had an amputation, it’s completely free to file the paperwork when applying for disability from the Department of Veteran Affairs. However, it can be rather confusing and difficult.
There are several fantastic benefits to hiring a lawyer when you have to struggle with the VA.
A few of these benefits include:
Knowledge of VA Law: When you represent yourself, you might not have not only the general knowledge of VA law and legal services but the what policies help you. You might not be able to represent yourself to the best of your ability. A VA disability attorney knows the VA law, they’ve spent years learning every bit of this law and will be able to walk you through the claims process as the claimant. If they have experience, even better. This means they’ve been through the process many times before.
No Up-Front Costs: Like with workers’ compensation, most VA disability lawyers as part of a specialized law firm don’t require you to break the bank while you receive legal assistance and before you even know how your case is going to turn out. There’s no expectation for you to pay when you’re not receiving compensation yet. They know the process can be long. Some of these attorneys also won’t take money for their services unless you’ve been awarded your compensation by the VA.
Experts: The most experienced disability lawyers know how experts can benefit your case or appeal. A lot of these lawyers provide you the very experts you need to win your compensation, even with the board of veterans’ appeals. They use the best doctors and psychiatrists to determine your condition. They gather all these reports from their own experts so they can better assist you in the VA court.
Paperwork and Deadlines: Paperwork is a headache, especially if you’re new to the VA process. An attorney will do the tedious work for you. Missing a deadline is a big no-no in the VA court. Your lawyer, just like with the paperwork, will take care of the deadlines so everything gets done on time. This takes a huge amount of stress off of you.
Faster Claims: Now, an VA disability lawyer can’t push through the process
faster for your case. However, between they’re knowledge of the law and the ability to negotiate, you will more than likely receive your benefits faster. If you hire a lawyer in the beginning, you may be accepted the first time around, saving you the hassle of an appeal or worst of all, a remand.
What to Look for in an Attorney
Since you know the major benefits of having an experienced VA disability lawyer, it’s time to know what to look for when hiring a lawyer. There are specifications they should have, including being VA accredited and assets that you don’t have.
Never hire the first lawyer you speak to if you haven’t spoken about your claim to another lawyer. You should speak to at least three lawyers to decide who will suit you the best.
The best disability lawyers will be:
- VA Accredited: Your lawyer has to be accredited by the VA. In order to be accredited by the VA, they must fill out paperwork for the Department of Veteran Affair’s Office of General Counsel (also known as VAOGC). All the forms and documents are examined and determined if they’re fit to fight for vets. The lawyer then gets 12 months from when they’re accepted to complete a 3-hour course.
- Experienced: Experience is always good when hiring any lawyer. You want an attorney to know the entire process in and out. They have experience working for other vets, just like you. A great lawyer will let you know what needs to be done every step of the way. Not only should they have an extensive past dealing with VA regulations, but they should be currently practicing this same law. If they haven’t practiced recently or haven’t been to the VA court in years, they might be a little rusty on everything.
- Focused: Alongside experience, you want a VA disability lawyer whose focus has been primarily on cases like yours. A lawyer with too many focuses may only know the basics of the VA’s policies on disability. Your lawyers need to know the intricacies.
- Trustworthy: A lawyer that’s trustworthy brings you the peace of mind you deserve, especially during an appeal. Your lawyer’s time spent with you and their dedication to your appeal will show you that you’ve found the right VA disability attorney.
The Bottom Line
As a veteran of one of the U.S. military branches with a disability, you deserve compensation from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Hiring an attorney right away means you’re putting your best foot forward as soon as you start your claim. You should accept a helping hand, especially if you’re denied you claim the first time around.