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Veteran's Disability

Veteran’s Benefits Overall

At Alexander Shunnarah Personal Injury Attorneys, we are honored to serve our nation’s veterans to assistant them in recovering the disability benefits they earned by serving our country.  Like Social Security cases, our firm is well aware of how difficult and frustrating filing veteran’s disability claims can be and thelength of time the process can take along with its complications. If you have been denied VA disability benefits, our veterans’ benefits attorneys may be able to help you appeal this decision.  

Appealing a denied claim for disability benefits can be a time consuming and overwhelming process for a veteran and his/her family.  There are literally thousands of regulatory guidelines and bylaws.  Our attorneys can assist the veteran in appealing a denial, putting together valuable medical evidence, and filing required documents in favor of the veteran.  Moreover, our attorneys can help the veteran sidestep mistakes which could jeopardize their claim or even worse, lose. It is important to note that while each veteran’s case is unique, the amount of time for the appeal is considerable and even without issue, can take up to a year or two to complete.

Who is Eligible for Veterans Disability Benefits

The basic requirements for a veteran to qualify for disability benefits are as follows:

  1. The applicant must be a veteran; 
  2. The applicant must have a current medical condition; 
  3. The applicant must have sustained an injury or disease that happened during service; 
  4. The applicant’s current disability must be related to their time in duty (includes diseases or conditions which are prove to be exacerbated during service).

The critical component of being approved for disability benefits is being able to prove the alleged disability is related to the service.  This proof typically comes from medical records and/or an evaluation from a physician which state(s) the veteran suffers from a current disability or condition, medical proof of the development or aggravation of a disease or injury in service; and medical evidence of a connection between the in-service injury or disease and the current disability.

Percentages Used in for Disability Ratings

At the VA Regional Office (referred to as the RO) where the application is filed, the veteran’s application is reviewed and a decision regarding a rating is entered.  If an application is approved, the total benefits a veteran receives is based on the VA’s determination of their percentage of disability. Unlike Social Security Disability, VA percentages can range from 10 percent to 100 percent, and can net veterans anywhere between $129 and more than $3000 per month, depending on disability rate and the number of dependents.  VA benefits are tax-free, and individuals may receive both Social Security Disability (SSD, SSDI) and veteran’s disability at the same time which are not affected by each other.

The VA can assign numerous different percentage ratings which range from 10 percent to full disability (100 percent), and provide the monthly disability payments as listed below.  As of 2012, the amounts below for an individual veteran are as follows:

  • 10 percent – $129
  • 20 percent – $255
  • 30 percent – $395
  • 40 percent – $569
  • 50 percent – $810
  • 60 percent – $1026
  • 70 percent – $1293
  • 80 percent – $1503
  • 90 percent – $1689
  • 100 percent – $2816

Under VA regulations, veterans who receive a disability rating of 30 percent or more can receive additional allowances for dependents, which include children under the age of 18; children between the ages of 18 and 23 who are still in school; minor children with a disability that makes them incapable of self-support; dependent parents; and spouses. These additional benefit amounts will be based on the disability rating percentage, as well as number and type of dependents. 

A Veteran can File a Claim for More Than One Disability (Multiple Disabilities)

Often times veteran’s suffer from more than one service related disability (perhaps a physical issue along with a mental or emotional issue).  When this occurs, the VA uses a formula to determine their total disability rating level. Normally, the most severe impairment or disability is used first in the ranking method, then the least severe is determined. By examining the most serious disability, the VA will determine how efficient the veteran can be. For instance, if the VA assigns the most severe disability at 40 percent, the veteran is still 60 percent efficient. Next, the VA will consider the second most serious disability. If a veteran’s second disability warrants a 10 percent rating, then 10 percent of the remaining 60 percent efficiency will be evaluated. In this instance, this number is 6 percent, and will be added to the original disability rating (40 percent) to equal 46 percent. Finally, this number will be rounded up or down; in this example, the veteran would be considered 50 percent disabled. As you can see, the process is complicated and full of pitfalls for the veteran.  Let the experience of our veteran’s disability attorneys assist you to recover the compensation you deserve.