Top-Rated Veteran Disability Claim Lawyer

Let Bartlett Legal Group help you prepare and submit your veteran disability claim to give you the best chance of getting the compensation you need.

After the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln asked America “to care for him who shall have borne the battle.”

This request led to the creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as the VA, which is responsible for administering pensions and disability payments and providing medical care for Americans who have served in the armed forces.

Unfortunately, a lack of funding, staff shortages, and poor administration have made it difficult for veterans who served our country to get even the simplest of benefits they are owed. Our veterans held up their end of the deal, and we must encourage the VA to hold up their end.

Because of these issues, seeking veteran disability benefits through a VA claim can often become a frustrating struggle, with claims being delayed, complicated, and even denied. 

Luckily, there are ways to make sure your claims have the best chance of approval, that denials are turned into acceptances, and, if necessary, appeals are won so that vets can get what they deserve.

The experienced veteran benefits lawyers at Bartlett Legal Group can assist you resubmit after a denial and appeal any undesired decisions to the courts.

Attaining the help of an accredited veterans’ disability law firm like us can provide a wealth of advantages when appealing a veteran disability claim denial. We know all the ways to get claims accepted, what evidence is important and what evidence is a hindrance, steps to take to get things to move along quicker, and lots of ins and outs that we have devoted our careers to.

To speak with a lawyer at Bartlett Legal Group, contact us today by filling out  our online form or by calling 850-332-6434.

What is a Veteran Disability Claim?

A veteran’s disability claim is a formal request to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to provide the claimant with veteran disability benefits. The process of filing a veterans disability claim begins with the filling out of an Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits (  VA Form 21-526EZ). 

Most veterans filing a claim will fill out this form online. However, this completed form can also be mailed to the Department of Veterans Affairs, dropped off at the VA in person, or faxed. As of writing, the current estimated wait time for the VA to make a decision regarding a claim is 158.4 days, although this is subject to fluctuation. 

After your claim is sent, it will be reviewed and investigated, which may require additional evidence to be submitted. Should your claim be approved, the VA will provide information regarding your disability rating, which will determine the level of benefits you are entitled to. 

Who Can File a Veteran’s Disability Claim?

Not everyone is eligible to file a veterans disability claim. Some disqualifying factors exist, and details regarding your service or condition can affect the potential for denying your claim. 

In order to file a veterans disability claim you need to satisfy the following criteria. 

You must have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training in the United States Military.You need to currently be suffering from an illness, injury, or other medical condition that affects your mind or body. You must have received an honorable or, under honorable conditions, discharge.

Furthermore, the nature of your condition’s origin can affect your eligibility for VA disability benefits. To successfully file a veterans’ disability claim, your condition must have been either

Been caused by conditions experienced during military serviceExisted before but was made worse by military serviceIs related to your military service but did not appear until afterwards

Proving the fulfillment of these criteria is integral to your disability claim. Providing evidence, such as a medical nexus, service records, etc., can mean the difference between success and the possible denial of your disability claim.  

Common Injuries and Conditions In Veteran’s Disability Claims

Veterans can file disability claims with the VA for a wide range of injuries, both physical and mental. The following are the most common conditions veterans file disability claims over.

—Tinnitus

—Hearing los

Scar

PTSD

Depression

Anxiety

Cancer

Migraines

Limited flexion of the knee

Sciatica

Cervical strain

Limited range of motion of the ankle and other limbs

Degenerative arthritis

Respiratory conditions

Sleep apnea

Veteran Presumptive Conditions

In many cases, veterans may have conditions that do not appear until after their service, such as certain cancers caused by exposure to carcinogens and toxic substances during service.

Conditions like these are known as presumptive conditions by the VA and are assumed to have been caused by factors during military service. Therefore, the requirement of proving the connection between the condition and your service is waived. 

Details on Receiving Veterans Disability Benefits

Should your veterans’ disability claim be successful, you can expect to receive veterans’ disability benefits, which consist of tax-free monetary payments ranging from $133 to over $3,400 every month, depending on your disability rating.

VA Disability Ratings

disability rating is the classification of your health condition’s severity and the appropriate amount of compensation provided for it. Your disability rating will also affect eligibility for additional VA benefits. 

Disability ratings are expressed as percentages, with higher numbers indicating more severe disability. They are determined using a VA claim exam (otherwise known as a compensation and pension exam) and evidence provided by a claimant, such as medical records. 

The  amount of compensation available depending on your disability rating can be further augmented by additional factors such as having dependants, disabled spouses, the number of parents in a family, and the age of dependants.

Special Monthly Compensation

Veterans may be eligible to receive  special monthly compensation (SMC) in addition to their other VA disability benefits. SMC is additional compensation intended for veterans suffering from more severe conditions that affect their quality of life and require more help such as lost limbs.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Veterans themselves are not the only party that can receive benefits. The survivors of veterans who have died as a result of health conditions they suffered due to their time serving may be eligible to receive  Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). This applies to surviving family members such as spouses, children, and other dependents. 

Veterans Disability Claim Denials 

The veterans’ disability claim process can sometimes be fraught with complications that can lead to issues with getting a claim approved. This, of course, is not only frustrating but can have serious repercussions for veterans who need VA disability benefits. 

The most common reasons for veterans’ disability claims to be denied are 

Missed filing deadlinesIncomplete paperworkThe disability in question is considered not service-connectedHealth conditions are deemed not significant enough to warrant compensationThe condition is considered pre-existing or non-aggravatedThe wrong paperwork is filedThe VA rejected your medical evidence

These situations occur more often than most realize and, in some cases, can take significant effort to address. If a VA claim has been denied, that does not mean that all hope is lost. Veterans can still appeal the ruling on their claim in several ways. 

Veterans Disability Claim Appeals

Veterans have one year from the day their disability claim was denied to file an appeal. This is done by submitting a Decision Review Request to the VA. After this is filed and received by the VA, veterans have three options to proceed with their appeal. 

1. Veteran Disability Claim Higher Level Review

A ‘  higher-level reviews‘ consists of a senior VA benefits reviewer evaluating your claim again without taking the previous review into consideration for their decision. 

A higher-level review does not take into account new evidence and evaluates your claim on the same basis as before but with a more experienced reviewer.

A higher level review can be requested by filling out VA Form 20-0996.

2. Veteran Disability Claim Supplemental Claim

A supplemental claim will give veterans the ability to provide additional evidence that they did not submit earlier, which may increase the likelihood of their claim being approved.

Veterans seeking to file a supplemental claim after a denial must submit VA Form 20-0995. 

3. Veteran Disability Claim Board Appeal

A more complex option is to file a board appeal after a VA claim denial which will consist of a veterans law judge from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals reviewing your case.

A board appeal has three ways of proceeding. 

1. Direct review: Similar to a higher-level review, the judge will take a second look at the claim that you submitted with no new evidence provided.

2. Submission of new evidence: Claimants can submit new evidence to support their claim that a judge will take into account when reevaluating the claim.

3. A hearing:  A longer process where new evidence can be presented at a formal hearing presided over by a judge. 

How a Veteran’s Disability Claims Lawyer Can Help

If your veteran disability claim was denied, you received a lower disability rating than you believe is fair, or you need more compensation because of additional injuries, then you should contact the VA-accredited lawyers at the Bartlett Legal Group.

Here are several ways we can help you:

Navigating the Appeals Process

Our team guides veterans through the complex appeals process for denied claims, including helping them understand the basis for denial, gathering necessary documentation, and submitting appeals. This includes choosing the right appeal path to pursue, such as a Higher-Level Review, a Supplemental Claim, or appealing directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

Gathering and Submitting Evidence

Lawyers can help identify and gather critical evidence to support a veteran’s claim for VA disability benefits. This might include medical records, service records, expert opinions, and lay statements. Our veterans’ disability claims attorneys will ensure that all documentation is thoroughly and correctly submitted to bolster your case.

Legal Representation

As veteran benefits lawyers, we represent veterans in hearings, whether they are in front of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, or other relevant forums. Our expertise in veterans’ law and procedural rules can be crucial during these proceedings.

Advising on Potential Benefits

Many veterans are unaware of all of the VA disability benefits they are eligible for. A knowledgeable veterans disability claims lawyer can provide advice on a range of benefits, including disability compensation, pension programs, education benefits, and healthcare services. Our team makes it a point to ensure the veterans we serve are fully aware of their entitlements.

Filing for Increased Benefits

Veterans who believe their disability rating does not accurately reflect their condition can benefit from a VA-accredited lawyer’s skills. If you want to file for increased compensation for your service-related condition, our team can assist you in demonstrating how your disabilities have worsened over time.

Handling Complex Cases

Our veteran disability claims lawyers are particularly helpful in navigating complex cases, such as those involving PTSD, TBI, exposure to hazardous materials, or service-related conditions that have worsened over time. We understand the nuances of the VA’s claims process and can build a strong case that acknowledges your claim’s complexities.

Avoiding Delays

Experienced lawyers like our team can help veterans avoid common pitfalls and delays in the VA disability claims process. We’ll ensure that all paperwork is complete, accurate, and submitted on time. Our veterans disability benefits lawyers can also help keep your claim moving forward by staying on top of deadlines and promptly responding to VA requests.

Contingency Fee Basis

Like many veteran benefits lawyers, our team at the Bartlett Legal Group works on a contingency fee basis. That means we only get paid if we win the case for the veteran. This arrangement makes legal assistance more accessible to veterans seeking help.

Emotional Support and Understanding

Navigating the VA benefits system can be frustrating and disheartening. We believe that having a VA-accredited lawyer who understands the system and is on the veteran’s side can provide crucial emotional support and reassurance during the process.

Correcting Errors

If the VA denied your veterans disability claim due to errors in the original application, such as missing or incomplete information, or misunderstandings involving your service record and medical history, an attorney can be a great resource. Our veteran benefits lawyers can help correct these issues and present your case more effectively. 

As you can see, there are many advantages to hiring a veteran benefits attorney. Our team of lawyers at Bartlett Legal Group are up-to-date on the latest laws, VA regulations, and procedures that can impact whether you get the disability benefits you need to take of yourself and your family.

Veteran Disability Claim FAQS

How long does a veteran disability claim appeal take?

The amount of time it takes for a veteran disability claims appeal to resolve depends on which option was chosen for the appeals process. Overall, the appeals process is not known for its expediency so those hoping for an appeal to finish quickly should not hold their breath. Some appeals like those in the form of a hearing can take years while something like a higher level review can take a few months. 

How Much Does a veteran disability claims lawyer cost?

VA disability claims lawyers work for a contingent fee which is taken out of the compensation they attain for you in the form of a percentage. This percentage will vary depending on the lawyer and the details of the case but most lawyers will ask for a 20-30% contingent fee.

Can I file another VA disability claim if my symptoms or condition gets worse?

Yes. It is possible to seek additional compensation for your disability if your condition worsens. Veterans with worsening disability conditions can file a new claim to seek an increase in their disability rating. 

Contact Bartlett Legal Group About Your Veteran Disability Claim

Getting the benefits you deserve as a veteran might seem easy at first. You see a doctor, get your conditions documented, and send off your claim to the VA.

But it’s not always that simple. There are a lot of little details in the process of securing disability benefits that can easily trip you up. A tiny error on your application can lead to endless back-and-forths with the VA as you try to prove that your disabilities are service-connected.

Bartlett Legal Group is invested in the well-being of veterans and their access to the disability benefits needed to support their lives post-military service.  Our team is dedicated to providing the best possible service to clients because of this belief in the necessity of support to veterans. 

If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulty with the VA after filing a veterans’ disability claim, then consider contacting Bartlett Legal Group. Our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure that your concerns are heard and that your right to compensation for your injuries is observed. 

To contact Bartlett Legal Group to schedule a free consultation on your veteran disability claim you can either call (850) 332-6434 or fill out a form on our  contact page

Call us! And Let Our Experts Help.

We are veterans, spouses, and family members of veterans. We know exactly what you are going through. Let our compassionate, skilled team help you!