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Veteran Disability and VA Benefits

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VA disability benefits are often denied because veterans don't seek help from a qualified VA attorney. Veteran disabilities, including post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD and combat stress, can also hinder a veteran from filing a claim, thereby causing delay in veterans compensation and veteran's disability benefits.

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VA Disability Benefits

VA benefitsVeteran Affairs offers VA disability benefits for those with disabilities as a result of their military service. The VA website explains that to qualify for veteran compensation you must have (1) a disability at the present time that has been diagnosed medically; (2) a disease, injury or event in the service; and (3) your current medical condition is related to the in-service medical condition.

A service connection must be established when a veteran first files a claim for disability compensation with the VA: there are five ways to apply for a service connection and an attorney who specializes in Veterans Disability Compensation law can help.

If you have another disability that you believe is related to your military service, but you have not previously filed a claim for that disability, you can file a new claim online.

The VA also provides a pension for disabled veterans but only if they have limited income and are disabled or over 65 years of age. For a dependent to receive benefits from the VA, the veteran needs to have been rated by the VA for a service-connected disability.

Veteran Disability Denials

VA disabilityThe Federal government says between 50 and 70 percent of benefit claims to Veterans Affairs are being unjustly denied. Congress recently approved additional VA funding to solving the problem of denied veteran disability claims.

Disabled veterans benefits can also be reduced by the VA for a number of reasons based on its disability compensation ratings. It is important that you find a veterans lawyer or Veteran Service Organization immediately if the VA proposes to lower your veterans' compensation. (Recent legislation now allows veterans to hire attorneys to represent them for benefits before the VA. Before June 20007, attorneys were prohibited from charging a fee to represent veterans at the administrative level.)

VA Disability Lawsuit

In 2008 a lawsuit was filed by two advocacy groups, The Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Modern Warfare, against the Department of Veterans Affairs representing almost 60,000 veterans. The lawsuit claims that the VA is taking up to four years to process disability claims, which is causing economic devastation, homelessness, the breakup of families, and even suicide. The suit requested that the VA be required to pay interim benefits on any claim that takes longer than 90 days to process or six months to appeal.

Some of the allegations in the lawsuit include:
  • A backlog of up to 600,000 disability payments, with delays of up to 177 days for initial claims.
  • A shortage of treatment programs for post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • A classification of post-traumatic stress disorder claims as "pre-existing personality disorders" in order to deny veterans disability or medical treatment.

Veteran Disabilities

Of the returning veterans suffering from anxiety-related problems, approximately one-third of them suffer from panic disorder. Veterans who suffered combat stress have also been diagnosed with the following:
  • Bipolar disorder;
  • Psychosis;
  • Suicidal or homicidal ideation or intent;
  • Severe depression; and
  • Panic attacks only related to specific phobias or medical conditions that mimic anxiety symptoms.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

According to the VA, 60,000 U.S. service personnel have been wounded or have psychological disorders such as PTSD due to their tours in Iraq since 2003.

In 2007 a coalition of disabled Iraq war veterans sued the Department of Veterans Affairs, accusing them of illegally denying or delaying claims for disability pay and mental health treatment. Filed on behalf of an estimated 750,000 veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the lawsuit is the latest in a list of complaints about the quality of medical care provided to veterans returning from war.

Agent Orange

A federal appeals court in San Francisco ordered the VA to pay retroactive benefits to Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange who have contracted leukemia. The VA expects to see approximately 200,000 veterans becoming eligible for disability benefits.

Gulf War Syndrome

VA benefitsIn February 2010, the VA vowed to review potentially thousands of Gulf War Syndrome disability claims. According to the VA, of almost 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the Gulf war, upwards of 210,000 have complained of a series of symptoms.

Approximately 108,000 vets are on a Registry of whom 80,000 are symptomatic. But only about half of ill gulf veterans have registered with the VA or DoD for treatment. It is believed the rest are seeking private medical care.

Gulf War syndrome is a collection of symptoms, including rashes, joint and muscle pain, sleep issues and gastrointestinal problems. The cause isn't still clear, but scientists and service people have considered pesticides, chemical drops, oil well fires and pyridostigmine bromide pills, which soldiers took to safeguard from nerve gas.

Lou Gehrig's Disease

In 2006 the Institute of Medicine reported a potential connection between military service and the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a progressive, usually fatal, nervous system disorder that affects 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States, with roughly 5,000 newly stricken annually. According to the report, several epidemiologic studies reported a link between development of ALS and prior service in the U.S. military.

VA Claim Process

VA disabilityIn an attempt to help improve the veterans' disability claims process, in March 2010 the VA held a nationwide contest for VA employees and veterans services organizations. An award-winning idea is the use of standardized forms to speed up the veteran's assessment. Currently, veterans must undergo a private exam as well as an exam at a VA medical facility in order to have their condition and degree of disability properly diagnosed and be awarded disability benefits.

Standardized forms will help both the veterans and the private physicians:
  • Veterans will be much more aware of the necessary required information;
  • The new process will most likely lower the amount of examinations required, which will benefit those veterans finding it hard to travel; and
  • The physicians will be more familiar with the veteran's medical history.

VA Disability Benefits Legal Help

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VA DISABILITY LEGAL ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS

Veteran Who Filed for Benefits in 2001 Has Yet to Receive Them
Veteran Who Filed for Benefits in 2001 Has Yet to Receive Them Washington, DC: Talk about clout. When retired US Army veteran Leonard K. Jackson talks of his years-long wait to secure VA disability benefits for a range of physical and mental health issues suffered while serving, he has the White House behind him. That’s right, the White House, as the Obama Administration has used Jackson as a poster boy of sorts for Obama’s efforts to simplify and speed up the veteran benefits appeals process [READ MORE]

Whistleblower and Attorney Appeal QTC and Veterans’ Agent Orange Cases
Whistleblower and Attorney Appeal QTC and Veterans’ Agent Orange Cases Norfolk, VA: After LawyersandSettlements wrote about QTC Medical Services and its lawsuit involving Vietnam veterans’ disability cases and QTC reviewers inadequately reviewing their Agent Orange claims, the whistleblower in the lawsuit contacted us. “Under this federal contract, veterans’ claims were recklessly processed and as a result, they were denied disability benefits,” says David Vatan, a former QTC claims file analyst and doctor [READ MORE]

Did Contractor Drop the Ball on VA Benefits?
Did Contractor Drop the Ball on VA Benefits? Norfolk, VA: Retired service personal in dire need of VA benefits would not be cheered by the allegation that a contractor hired to review the cases of thousands of Vietnam veterans for exposure to Agent Orange may have denied benefits in spite of obvious need, all because the contractor was less than thorough in reviewing cases, or so it has been alleged [READ MORE]



READER COMMENTS

Posted by
Tony Munro
on
I can sympathize with Denise Warnock. I'm sorry for what you and your husband went through. I am a victim of HCC when my liver ruptured in 1977, I was given 6 months to live and have proven them wrong so far. VA has denied me many times and have given up on them but my family and I thank god for everyday I continue on. God Bless!

Posted by
Denise Warnock
on
My husband was a VN vet. He passed away September 2015. After being diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma a year prior, the VA said he Had 6-12 Months to live without treatment. The VA said his cancer was not large enough for treatment. His abdomen swelled up 4 times its normal size..VA said it was "water" retention (hospitalized for 3 days)..released with water pills..took him back to the VA due to him getting worse..VA stated...he had an infection put him on antibiotics in patient for 3 days..released him with visiting nurses to our home. Not getting any better and no help from the VA. I called 911 ro which they took him to the Cleveland clinic. Rounds of high potent antibiotics and getting hus abdomen tapped "13 liters" of fluid removed..the Cleveland clinic drs did what they could but by the time of going to the Cleveland clinic..my husband had no chance of survival.

Posted by
waynephillips
on
I am submitting a FDC for back, neck, and shoulder pain and PTSD. I've had shoulder surgery, but I have not been treated for the PTSD. Do I need to see a doctor to evaluate my conditions beforehand or should I file and see if the VA requests exams? I am in the Philippines and seeing a doctor is not easy, and I don't have money for expensive tests. I am also waiting for my DD 214. If I add the DD 214 and doctors evaluations after filing, will this cause the claim status to change from FDC to regular status, and thereby delay processing?

Posted by
James Ruffin
on
There is a big shortage in the Midwest of Va qualified attorneys that will handle federal tort claims for Veterans. That led to turning to other parts of the country only to be told to find an attorney in your area contacting the legal bar association of your state turns out to be just as confusing with nowhere for the Veterans attorney for legal help

Posted by
Ohio
on
I filed for benefits in 2010 and was diagnosed with PTSD and rated at 30%. I filed a dispute and have been waiting ever since. I currently have two appeals pending for multiple years. I have been sued by debt collectors and defaulted on. I am unable to maintain employment due to symptoms and severe anxiety. I am living at home with my mother and just wish I could find a job or start my own company doing what I love.

Posted by
Massachusetts
on
Nearly incapable of walking due to bone on bone of both hips. Left knee is deteriorating as a result of trying to alter gait to ease hip pain. The VA has dragged its feet for far too long, while my condition continues to deteriorate.

Posted by
Georgia
on
Exposure to gas and chemicals during Gulf War. Letter from gov't stating I was exposed. Filed with the VA and they cannot locate my records. They have vanished. My teeth have fallen out, my fingernails are nearly gone, I experience headaches, gout, and many other GWS ailments.

Posted by
Anonymous
on
this is va disabilty case that i already won at the veteran court appeals and in the us supreme court also. thirteen years ago the va wanted me to take 100% disability in seven years and because i didn't take or talk on it and because i sent the Evidence to president obama to president clinton to us senator thad benny thompson us atty general disability rights section atty robin dike went into the missippi news paper jackson avicate now the va want pay anything and now federal judges lying now sayin i didn't win nothing i need a atty to put them in the spotlight to tellin that they above god or the law maybe even file a writ mandanmus lawsuit against the va. My is Dolphus Collins and my home phone number is 601-xxx-xxxx
adress:2752 ustah street in jackson mississippi zip: 39213

Posted by
Anonymous
on
I am a retired Vetearn With 20 years of services. In 2010 I was with cancer and had a ling removed. The after affects of the cancer was COPD, Sleep disorder and loss of my teethy. At that time I was drawing 30% disability from VA which was deducted from my militarly retirement pay being tax free. When i retired I claimed my lower back right shoulder and right knee. In 2002 I was rewarded 30 %. After the bout with cancer I applied for SSD and was reward total disability. In the medical records sent froth by my Doctor it stated due to my lower back and almost no use of the right was the decideing factor. He dtated that I could not work in any type of employment due to prolong Stang and sitting. When I retire I was on a permeant profile due to my back and right knee, and was forced durning the time i severed to change my MOS to match my profile. Even thought the cancer had no major play in my SSD it was the after effevts that did. After hiring a Laywer I was awared SSD base upon my Back right shoulder, COPD and sleep disorderand Left shoulder due to using it to protect my right sshoulder. I was informed by the Regional Offive Columbia SC to file a FDC (Fully Deveoloped Claim ) in which I did stating all of my medical history. Fours month after filing I recevied a letter form VA deining my FDC but that they would process the claim as a increase for Disabilty. Five days before the claim meet the nine month deadline I was sent to a local Doctor for a review. The Doctor stated that the question she was asking was that of the VA and She need for me to answer them in a manner that was in compliances to VA . She informed that I need to get a job and work because her father was 84 and still working. After all the public news on the VA i fell that my request was one of those that was being herry picked due to the time it would take to review it and that the VA could meet the deadline. I did not ask for the cancer or the copd or any other health issue that has happened to mae. But I belive that the VA did fail to due that proper process with my FDC, because if the would have read it that the would have found that my SSD was base upon my Lower back Right and left shoulder and right knee. After all of the BS I was awarded a additional 10% back dTED TO sEPT 2013. aS OF THIS DATE i STILL HAVE NOT RECEIVE THE BACK PAY THAT IS DUE. i CONTANVTED THE va AND WAS TOLD THAT A fOTRM HAD NOT BEEN SENT TO dfas AND THAT THEY WOULD SEND IT FORWARD THAT WAS OVER 60 DAYS, i CONTANCED dfas AND WAS INFORMED THAT THEY HAD NOT SEEN OR RECEVIED SUCH FORM, nOW i AM FORCED TO HIRE A ANTTORNEY TO FILE FOR Appeal for denial. Maybe if the upper management would let the carrer workers due thier and not play with numbers or make stupid decesionon how or who claims meet what they belive is harmful to thier over all refection of the VA I say fire all Govt APPT individualls at the VA and promote within that who really cares The VA is full of it and I fell sorry for the poor GS/4/5/6 who nedds thier jobs but have to put up witj false management

Posted by
Anonymous
on
I served on board Two World War 2 Aircraft Carriers in the early-Mid sixties. Have Asbestosis of the lungs diagnosed in 2010. It is now almost been 4 years since I filed my original claim. VA Denied it even though I have proof it is more then certain I got this working on these ships especially in Shipyards while these ships were being repaired.Re filed with an Attorney in 2012, and have not heard a word from VA. According to my last Pulmonary function test I have yearly to update the VA I have 60% loss of my breathing function.I am 71.

Posted by
Alabama
on
I am on oxygen 100% of the time, confined to a bed 90% of the time and can not walk at all. The only way for me to get around is by wheelchair or scooter. I am on my death bed.

Posted by
Pennsylvania
on
Head, shoulder, knee, back injuries. Tinnitus (hearing loss).

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