You served your country honorably. Now, you are disabled, and it is time for the United States to reciprocate—by providing you with the Veterans disability benefits you deserve.
If your illness or injury was caused or aggravated by your military service, you may be eligible to receive monthly tax-free payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits can help you pay for your living expenses and relieve your financial stress. But, before you can receive VA disability benefits, you must qualify for them, and that isn’t always easy to do.
Eligibility for VA Disability Benefits
You are eligible for Veterans disability benefits if:
- You currently have an illness or injury that impacts your body or mind.
- You served the United States on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training.
- You have a disability rating because of a condition or injury that is service-related.
- You were discharged for reasons other than dishonorable conditions.
Additionally, you must prove that one of the following three things is true:
- You have an inservice disability claim. You got sick or hurt while in the military, and your current condition is linked to that illness or injury.
- You have a preservice disability claim. You were sick or hurt before you joined the military, and your military service made your illness or injury worse.
- You have a postservice disability claim. You are sick or hurt because of something that happened during your service, but that your illness or injury wasn’t known until after your time in the service ended.
Sometimes, due to the nature of your disability, the VA will presume that your disability is connected to your service. This most commonly applies when you have a chronic illness that begins within one year of your discharge, you have an illness associated with toxic materials used during your service, or you have an illness caused by your time as a prisoner of war.
Other common illnesses and injuries that may result in eligibility for Veterans disability benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back or neck pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Respiratory problems
- Hearing loss
How to Apply for Veterans Disability Benefits
Before you can begin receiving benefits, you must submit an application to the VA, and the VA must approve your application. You can apply online, by mail, or in person. However you decide to apply, you will need to completely and accurately fill out the VA’s Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits (VA Form 21-526EZ) and provide supporting documentation to the agency. Supporting documentation may include your VA medical records, private medical records, and statements from friends, relatives, employers, clergy, and community members about how your condition impacts your life.
If any part of your application is incorrect, incomplete, or unclear, then your claim may be denied.
What Happens If Your Initial Claim for VA Disability Benefits Is Denied
It can take several months to get a decision on a VA disability claim, and in the end, not every application is approved. If your initial application was denied and you want to pursue benefits, you will have to notify your local VA office within one year of the initial decision.
How Our VA Disability Benefits Lawyers Can Help You
Applying for benefits can be stressful and time-consuming. Our experienced VA disability lawyers understand that you have a lot at stake, and we believe all Veterans who have served our country honorably should receive the full disability benefits they are entitled to by law.
We can help you file your initial application or appeal a denial of benefits. We will take all of the guesswork out of your application or appeal, and we will make sure that you are treated respectfully and fairly. Call us or fill out our online contact form today to start getting your questions answered and to schedule a free, no-obligation with us in our Roswell office.