Veterans disability benefits are a vital part of the safety net for veterans with service-connected disabilities that prevent them from working. If you’re seeking these benefits to provide for yourself and your family, there are four key steps you can take to maximize the compensation available to you.
1. Provide Complete Medical Evidence
Do not assume the United States Department of Veterans Administration (VA) will understand the seriousness of your disability. You should submit all existing medical records with your application, including treatment from VA Medical Centers as well as care you’ve received at a private facility. If you don’t believe your disability is adequately described in your medical records, you can include letters from people you served with, family members, friends, clergy members, or law enforcement that describe your disability and how it developed as part of your supporting evidence.
You may be required to attend a VA medical exam as part of the application process. If you do not attend this appointment, your application will not be approved.
2. List Your Dependents
Veterans who have a 30% or higher disability rating can add their dependents to their claim to receive an increased payment known as a “benefit rate.”
The VA considers dependents to be:
- Spouses, including those from same-sex and common law marriages
- Children, including biological children, stepchildren, and adopted children, who are unmarried and either under 18, under 23 and attending school full-time, or became seriously disabled before age 18
- Parents in your direct care with an income and net worth below set limits
Dependents can be included in your initial application or added later as needed.
3. Request an Update of Your Disability Rating
The disability rating you receive when you are approved for benefits is not set in stone. If your condition worsens, you are allowed to request a review. You can request a review due to changes occurring as the result of age, secondary illnesses, or the degenerative nature of your original disabling condition.
Note that you can only request a review if you’ve been receiving disability benefits for at least one year. If it’s been less than one year since you started receiving benefits, this is considered an appeal.
4. Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
If you qualify for veterans disability benefits, there is a strong possibility you would also qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Since neither program is needs based, the benefits are not offset by each other.
Are You A Veteran Who Needs Legal Help To Obtain The Disability Benefits You Deserve?
If you are a veteran and you need help receiving the benefits you deserve you should speak with an experienced veterans disability benefits lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.