VA Disability Lawyer – Benefit Appeals for Veterans, Spouses and Children, Including Survivor and Pension Matters
Free Consultation – Helping Servicemembers and their Families After a Claim Denial
You’ve faithfully served your county, and have made great sacrifices to keep our nation strong and secure. As part of your service, you and your loved ones may be entitled to benefits including:
- Healthcare benefits
- Disability benefits
- Education and training benefits
- Survivor and Pension benefits (for spouses and children)
- Burial benefits
- Home loan benefits
- Life Insurance benefits
The above list is not comprehensive; more benefits can be found by visiting the website for the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
As a Colorado Springs veteran’s disability benefit lawyer, I am available to assist and represent veterans and qualifying members of their families throughout the United States who have been denied benefits after filing Disability, Pension, and Survivor Benefits claims. Disability can result from a number of conditions, including Gulf War Syndrome, Agent Orange, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and PTSD, in addition to other types of injuries resulting from combat or training.
I offer a free consultation, and there is no fee unless I am able to secure higher benefits than those for which you have already been approved.
The next sections discuss how our firm helps veterans and their families get the disability, pension, and survivor benefits to which they are entitled.
Seeking VA Disability Benefits – How Can I Appeal if My Disability Claim Has Been Denied?
Veterans are entitled to disability benefits if they have become at least 10% disabled as the result of injuries or diseases occurring in or aggravated by active duty service, training for active duty, or inactive duty training. Disability includes not only physical injuries that occurred (such as a person injuring their back or aggravating a previously-existing back injury), but also psychological conditions (such as sustaining PTSD).
Understanding Disability Ratings
Disability for any condition is rated on 10% increments, starting at 0% (no disability) and ranging to 100% (fully disabled). Ratings can be calculated for multiple disabilities; thus a veteran may have a 20% disability rating for one injury, and a 40% rating for another disability. The rating percentages for multiple injuries is not additive, but instead a combined ratings table must be consulted to determine the applicable rating (in the foregoing example, a 20% rating for one injury and a 40% rating for a second injury would result in a 52% rating, which would be rounded downward to a 50% rating). Learn more about how the VA disability ratings are calculated.
Understanding the “Benefit”
Disability benefits are paid in monthly installments based upon the disability rating and the corresponding dollar benefit associated with such rating. The amount paid will increase over time based upon cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments. Additional amounts may be paid in certain circumstances, such as if the veteran has a spouse, children, or dependent parents.
Making Your Case – Seeking the Full Benefits to Which You Are Entitled
I help veterans and eligible family members through the appeals process for their claim by helping determine the full benefits to which they are entitled, working with doctors and medical staff to ensure that the appropriate rating is given and that all required medical records are obtained, completing and filing the required documentation and appeals forms. If a further denial is made, I represent veterans in court in seeking a benefits award.
In many disability cases, veterans may not even be aware of the full benefits to which they and their family members may be entitled. At the outset, it’s important to ensure that a thorough review is done to ensure that all of the applicable benefits are being sought.
Why Are VA Disability Benefits Often Denied?
As all veterans will appreciate, there is a precise process that must be followed, and specific proof that must be presented, in order to receive full benefits. If this process is not carefully followed, or if the required proof is not presented, a claim will be denied, even though the underlying facts suggest approval.
In the case of disability benefits, frequent reasons that claims are denied include:
- The veteran may not have presented evidence connecting their current injury or illness to their military service
- The medical proof of disability may be lacking in some fashion, or there may be issues concerning the disability rating
- Other required information may not have been furnished
When I learn about your claim, I can advise as to how I can help seek a full approval.
VA Survivor Death Benefits
Who is entitled to VA Survivor Death Benefits?
Surviving spouses and qualifying children are eligible for death benefits provided by The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program. The death benefit is paid monthly to qualifying survivors.
When Do Spouses Qualify for DIC / VA Death Benefits?
In order to qualify for DIC benefits, the Servicemember must have:
- Died during military service (including active and inactive duty training)
- Died as the result of a service-connected disability
- Died while being rated by the VA as totally disabled because of a service injury, even if the death itself was not due to the injury, provided that:
- The Servicemember was receiving benefits as the result of being totally disabled (as determined by the VA) at least 10 years prior to death, or
- The Servicemember was receiving benefits as the result of being totally disabled (as determined by the VA) for at least 5 years following the Servicemember’s release from active duty, or
- The Servicemember was receiving benefits as the result of being totally disabled (as determined by the VA) for at least one year if the Servicemember was a former prisoner of war.
Often, widows or widowers are not aware of this third category of survivor benefits to which they may be entitled.
Are Children of a Deceased Servicemember Entitled to VA Survivor Benefits?
A child of a deceased servicemember may be entitled to benefits if the deceased servicemember met the qualifications noted immediately above, and if the child is unmarried and under the age of 18, or between 18 and 23 and attending school.
A child who otherwise qualifies under these criteria is not separately entitled to benefits if the child’s parent is a spouse who qualifies for survivor benefits as noted above.
If you are a spouse, a qualifying child, or a guardian or parent of a qualifying child, please contact us to find out how we can assist with the appeal of your claim if it has been denied.
Are Parents Entitled to VA Survivor Benefits?
Parents of Servicemembers killed during service or who died as the result of service-connected injuries may be eligible to receive survivor benefits if they qualify under the Parents’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation guidelines. It is important to note that the actual benefit is determined based upon the monthly income specifications, and such amount is larger for low income surviving parents, and the benefit gradually declines to zero for higher income surviving parents.
VA Pension Benefits for Servicemembers, Spouses, and Children
Pensions for Veterans
VA pensions for wartime veterans are based upon need for those who are 65 or older and have no or a limited income, or who have a permanent disability that is not connected to their service. Qualifying veterans who require household help for basic functions because of a disability may additionally be eligible to receive a “special monthly pension”, which is a pension at an increased rate.
Are Spouses and Children of a Deceased Servicemember Entitled to a VA Pension?
Pensions for spouses and children of a deceased veteran are made available in order to help low income families. In order for a spouse and the children of a deceased wartime veteran to qualify for a pension, the following requirements must be met:
- The deceased veteran met the applicable service requirements
- The family income is below the qualifying amount established by Congress
- The children are:
- Under 18, or
- Under age 23 if attending a VA-approved school, or
- Permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before age 18
In addition to the pensions allowance for those who qualify, an increased pension benefit may be available to those who are housebound and cannot perform daily activities without assistance.
If Your Claim or the Claim of a Family Member Has Been Denied, Please Call for a Free Consultation and Learn How Our Firm Can Help You
PLEASE NOTE – The qualifying and eligibility rules and regulations for many VA benefits are complex. The sections above summarize certain key eligibility rules, but they do not address all eligibility requirements.
When you contact our firm and we learn about your facts and circumstances, we can advise you as to applicable rules and regulations for your situation, whether we believe that you qualify for the benefits being sought, and the amount of benefits to which you may be due.