If you served in the U.S. military, you remember everything about your time on active duty or in the reserves: boot camp, rifle qualification, first assignment, etc. But you remember other things, too, like the day you realized that a medical issue might be more serious than you thought. This isn’t uncommon for military personnel—serving is tough, and many veterans carry a lifetime of medical problems as a result. You should know that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a number of programs designed to provide financial, medical, and other assistance to veterans, and if your service-related injury or illness led to disability, you may be eligible for monthly compensation benefits.

Veterans benefits are administered by hard-working fellow Americans at the VA who review your case, determine if you meet the eligibility criteria, and assign you a disability rating (an assessment of your disability). Although they work to ensure veterans receive their rightful benefits, they are people—and people make mistakes. If you applied for an initial disability rating—or an increase in your disability rating—and were denied, let us review the decision. We know the VA's playbook for specific injuries and illnesses, and we know how to help the VA understand the severity of your condition. We will put our knowledge to work for you.

Eligibility for VA Disability Benefits

The VA has strict guidelines for approving applications for disability benefits, and it’s important that you understand whether you are eligible to apply. To be considered for disability benefits, you must have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training AND have a disability rating for your service-connected condition. In addition, one of the following must be true:

  • You got sick or injured while serving in the military, and you can link this condition to your illness or injury.
  • You had an illness or injury before you joined the military, and serving made it worse.
  • You have a disability related to your active-duty service that didn’t appear until after you ended your service.

You will have to provide evidence to support your disability claim, including military personnel records, service treatment records, VA medical records, and private medical records.

What Our Virginia Veterans Disability Benefits Attorneys Want You to Know

Applying for veterans disability benefits is not an easy process, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our experienced attorneys are here to help the many veterans in the Virginia Beach area get the benefits they deserve when they are struggling with a service-related health condition. Our VA disability team wants you to understand the following:

Coverage For Mental Health Issues Is Expanding

The VA is beginning to understand that mental health issues do not just affect veterans who experienced combat events. There are levels of stress in military service that cannot compare to anything else on the planet. We know that every day on active duty, service members feel the pressure to perform and maximize every moment to ensure our nation is protected. This can take a toll on mental wellness, and the effects may not even surface until later years. It takes courage to talk to anyone, especially a medical professional, about mental health. But we all know it's a moment of courage that will pay off enormously when it comes to your health.

VA Disability Law Is Constantly Changing 

The VA regularly reviews its policies and responds to new health issues among veterans as they arise. For instance, over the years, individual medical conditions have been added to the list of issues that are presumptively service-connected (the VA assumes these conditions were caused by your service). Agent Orange is a good example of this; any amount of time on the ground in Southeast Asia is sufficient to establish exposure to Agent Orange. Our team stays apprised of changes like this to benefit our clients.

Secondary Medical Conditions Should Be Covered 

When we talk about your VA claim and your health, we will document everything you are experiencing. We want to make sure the VA knows about every issue that should be compensated, including secondary medical problems. If you have a service-connected medical condition that causes additional problems—for example, an injury to the right leg that causes problems in the left leg from changes to your walking pattern, or mental health issues caused by a physical disability—those secondary conditions should be covered as well.

We Will Keep You Informed 

We realize this is a lot of information to take in. But the good news is, if you entrust your VA disability claim to us, we will monitor changes to VA policy and keep you informed every step of the way.

As Veterans disability attorneys, we make it our business to keep up with the ever-changing policies and procedures at the VA and to ensure our clients are getting all the compensation they deserve.

You Fought for Us, Our Veterans Disability Benefits Attorneys Will Fight for You

Alperin Law is located in the heart of one of the highest concentrations of active duty military personnel and veterans in the country, and we are proud to serve this unique population. Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. With main offices in Virginia Beach and Norfolk and satellite offices in Newport News, Suffolk, and Chesapeake, we are conveniently located for anyone in Hampton Roads (Portsmouth, Hampton, Williamsburg, and Poquoson) as well as those on the Eastern Shore (Northampton and Accomack Counties), and throughout southeastern Virginia.

Scott Alperin
Experienced Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney Serving Virginia Beach Area Clients Since 1994.