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Disabled American Veterans Are Entitled to Compensation

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  95 Comments

Find out if you qualify for veterans disability benefits for your physical or mental condition caused by military service, and learn four reasons why you should apply right away.

disabled-american-veteranAbout 600,000 veterans have a service-connected disability – that’s one out of every four of the 2.3 million vets who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, disability compensation is “a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.” Monthly benefits are paid out based on the severity of the injury or illness, and the number of a veteran’s dependents.

Claims and Benefits Paid Out Continue to Increase

A decade of war has left thousands of disabled American veterans, with a wide range of physical and mental conditions that affect their daily lives. In addition, many new claims are coming from vets from the Vietnam era, some with illnesses now recognized to come from exposure to Agent Orange.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the second largest federal agency next to the Department of Defense, spent about $46 billion in 2012 on disability benefits and expects to spend $57 billion next year. That’s nearly four times the amount spent in 2000, which was $15 billion.

Since 2010, the number of new claims filed annually has increased by almost 50%. Over one million disabled American veterans filed new claims in 2011, which included vets from Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam.

Don’t be ashamed to claim what you’re entitled to

Veterans groups report that the economy is causing some vets to apply for disability benefits who might otherwise just try to put up with their conditions. Some vets might be embarrassed that they can’t find a job – but the down economy is an even better reason to see if you are eligible for disability compensation.

There are at least four good reasons to go ahead and get an official designation for your condition:

  1. Extra money – Even if your condition is found to render you only 10% disabled, you could still receive about $127 each month, tax-free.
  2. Your condition may worsen over time – You may be young now and think that bad knee isn’t that bad, but it can decelerate into arthritis by middle age. Start now to accumulate those monthly payments you’ll be glad to have later.
  3. Access to more benefits – Once you receive a disability designation, the VA pays for the medical care you need for that condition. In some cases, you may also have access to medical care for problems not related to the disability. Disabled American veterans may also be eligible for other programs such as vocational rehabilitation, VA guaranteed home loans and other benefits.
  4. Survivor benefits – One reason not to delay applying for official designation of your disability is that the survivors of disabled vets can be eligible for education benefits and pensions.

If you are suffering from a physical or mental condition that stems from your military service for your country, you are entitled to be compensated for it. Don’t delay finding out what you need to know to make your application.

Disabled American Veterans Are Entitled to Compensation
2 (40%) 2 votes

  • Dear Dan,

    Unfortunately, you do not have grounds for a legally valid appeal. Due to inaction on a formal appeal years ago and not acting within the one-year time period, your claim was considered abandoned under the VA federal law.

    When you file a new claim, benefits, if granted, will be measured from the date the claim was filed with the VA. There is no retroactive benefit period.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney

  • Dear Rob,

    It will be difficult to prove this contention as a VA compensation claim. Any contention must have documentation referred to as a nexus letter. The nexus letter is a written physician opinion stating the current diagnosis is probably linked back to an in-service medical event. In the alternative, a physician would at a minimum need to opine that the current diagnosis is as likely as not linked to a known in-service medical event. You need to discuss with your physician whether or not such an expert opinion would be rendered on your behalf.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney

  • Dear Levino,

    Your combined rating will probably remain at 60%. This is due to how the VA combines ratings for individual disabilities.

    If a VA compensation claim results in a benefit approval, the VA will assign a disability rating. A VA benefit award can result in a combination of several disabilities, which are rated at different percentages.

    For example, a veteran can have one rating of 40% for a back injury, a rating of 10% for tinnitus, and a rating of 20% for a knee injury. The combined rating is not the sum of the individual ratings. In this example, the combined rating is not 70% (i.e., the total of each individual rating, 40% + 10% + 20%. Rather the combined rating is 60%.

    The combined rating is based upon a series of calculations taking into account, which the VA describes as the efficiency to perform work factor. The calculations begin with sorting the individual rating percentages descending from the highest to the lowest rating. In the example under consideration, you sort the percentages descending from 40% to 20% to 10%. Then, subtract the highest from 100% (which result in 60%).

    When the VA establishes that the veteran is 40% disabled for the back injury, that veteran has a remaining efficiency to perform work at a 60% level. Then, looking at the example, the veteran is 20% disabled from the knee injury. The next calculation takes this efficiency into account. According to the VA, the veteran can only perform 20% times the 60% of the remaining efficiency, which is 12%. The VA adds this remaining efficiency rating to the first rating of 40%, which results in a combined rating of 52%.

    The next step is to account for the 10% rating for tinnitus. The VA subtracts the result of the last step 52% from 100%, which gives us the remaining efficiency to perform work of 48%. The VA multiplies 48% times 10%, which produces 4.8%, rounded up to 5%. Add the first stage combined rating of 52% to the second stage of 5%. The total is 57%. The final number is rounded up to 60%. It is not the 70% rating that you would have anticipated it to be by simply adding all three ratings together.

    If the example I used had more than three individual ratings, then more calculations would have been needed to take into account the efficiency to perform work for these other additional individual ratings.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney

  • Dear Shaun,

    You will need to file a new claim absent your being able to prove that you properly filed a change of address notice to the VA prior to the VA determination letter being mailed to you. A veteran has an affirmative obligation to update your home address so the VA has a way to contact you.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney

  • Dear Christina,

    Since you are not an active-duty service member, the VA does not recognize the concept of “convalescence pay”. As to the VA claim issue, it appears you have a plausible claim. So you can contend in your new claim filing that your current injury was caused at least in part by your in-service injury. Note, however, that a contention of a plausible claim does not mean you will prevail unless you can prove this contention. This means you must have prove or get expert evidence from a physician that there is a nexus linking your current medical injury to your in-service medical events.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Adela,

    A Social Security decision could be helpful in this situation. You should submit it to the VA if the VA appeal is pending since new evidence will be accepted by the VA. If there is a formal appeal pending, then benefits, if awarded, can be retroactive to the date of the claim filing. But, the VA could find that being wholly disabled was determined at a later date, in which situation, the disability would be dated as of the date the wholly disabled condition was found to have started.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney

  • Dear Jamie,

    See my reply of a moment ago to your first post.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Jamie,

    No direct relationship exists between between the VA law and the Social Security law. The VA makes its determination based upon the definitions of the VA law. The Social Security Act makes its determination based upon the definitions of the SSA. If your current MRI doesn’t reflect the level of limitations you are experiencing, it is a good thing that Social Security is sending you for a residual functional capacities (RFC) evaluation, which should support the limitations.

    You could be approved, so you can wait to get legal help. If you are denied, it will be time to hire an experienced Social Security Attorney. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount the attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your back pay.

    Sincerely,
    Kay

  • Dear Robert,

    Your situation remains that you need an independent evaluation and opinion from a non-VA physician.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney
    Accredited VA Attorney

  • Dear Robert,

    When your claim is for a condition for which you have no service records or when the records are incomplete and for which you must rely on the logical linkage of your current disabling condition tied to an exposure, unreported injury, unrecorded disease or other incident incurred in service, you have to establish that connection through medical evidence to prove that a service connection exists.

    This will require an expert opinion from a private physician or board certified specialist (not employed by the VA) that the current condition is probably or is definitely a result of that incident incurred in the service. If you do not provide this evidence, the VA will try to infer from your other nonmedical evidence that your condition is service-connected, or the VA may more likely order a Compensation and Pension (C&P) examination with the request that the examiner offer an expert opinion on the service connection.

    Most C&P exams do not result in a persuasive diagnosis or evaluation to support the medical disability a veteran is attempting to prove. One needs to pay for an independent medical evaluation. If you rely entirely on the VA to help you establish this service connection, you have a higher probability of losing your case.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney

  • Dear Hardie,

    You do not provide sufficient information and context for me to render any specific judgment about your claim. I can provide some general information. You are filing for a compensation rating based upon a combination claim. This means you are applying for benefits involving two unrelated disabilities. If one has a foot disorder and an eye injury, these are not related medical conditions. But, if the VA rates both as disabilities, the total rating is not a mere mathematical addition of the two separate ratings. For example, if the foot disorder is rated at 10% and the eye injury is likewise rated at 10%, the combined rating is not necessarily a 20% rating. The totality of the two injuries can be combined and determined together, taken as disabilities, to be only 10% of your whole body as a disability combined rating.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney

  • Terrance Pack

    In 2006 I was diagnosed with 10%Ptsd 0% headache from service connected and awarded the combat action ribbon. I was unaware of the emotional and physical issues that I was dealing with due to my Ptsd sufferer and memory problems stemming from being involved in numerous bombing attacks from the enemy. As of 11/17/2016 rated at 30% headache, denied increase of 10% PTSD, with additional 10% tinnitus at 40% overall. Being that I have very severe Ptsd I’m not working for about 9 years basically homeless confused about why I am not getting increased. I have mental health issues that keep me unable to perform. I am currently in gathering of evidence wit date of 4/20/2017. I was told that the decision was made on 11/5/2016 but have not received any new developments or information relating to my claim. I am suffering and it’s worse because I have children and their not even in my life because of my ptsd. I’m seriously lost and I need help.

    • Terrance Pack

      I also have a deferred tbi, muscle spasms, depression, sinitus and my original completion date was 11/20/2016 until 11/1/2016 after a Qtc change to 4/20/2017. I am on sertaline and trazadone from VA. I seem to get alot of terminology when I call the VA that I have no idea about. I was told I was waiting on a DBQ or basic medical exam but I have been to about 8 diff doctors this year.

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Terrance,

        Most veterans follow the standard rule in the VA law that requires the VA to prove your claim for you as you have apparently done. As part of proof process, you are waiting on a DBQ, which means a disability benefit questionnaire, to be completed after an examination that the VA will set up.

        Most VA doctors are not going to complete a DBQ since each form first requires both an examination and then the completion of the form, which can take an hour or more to do.

        An alternative is for you to help prove your claim by making an appointment with a private physician and paying for the evaluation and completion of the DBQ at your own expense. This will speed up the processing time.

        Sincerely,
        Craig L. Ames
        Accredited VA Attorney

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Terrance,

      It is impossible to state with any certainty as to when the VA would make a written final determination or, if there is an increase in rating, when the increase in benefit amount will occur. I suggest you make an in-person appointment with the Regional Office of the VA to determine the status of your claim and what options are available to you in getting a final determination.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • William

    To whom it may concern,

    In 2009 Iseparated from the military and was rated at 80% for multiple issues. I was asked to come back for a recheck by the va for my neck and back in 2014 where my rating was increased to 90%. I switched from maintenance to a desk job due to the constant pain. Now even that is becoming more and more uncomfortable making it hard to focus. It’s pretty depressing at this point. I feel like a loser if I quit working all together, but if I was to try and apply for SSDI will I need to quit my job and try and survive on va alone in order to have a chance of approval? Thanks in advance.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear William,

      To have the potential of being eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI), you need either to stop working or to reduce your work so that you are grossing less than $1,130 ($1,170 in 2017) each month.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Dion

      I’ve recently been denied service connected disability for PTSD personal assault. My nose was bitten at the septum requiring sugery and some 28yrs later additional surgery was required and administered by the VA. The assailant was another service member whom brutally attacked me as I was coming to the aid of a civilian woman he was threatening. The VA asked me to provide corroboration of this event to include police report assailants name etc I provided this information yet and still denied. While unconscious I was kicked stomped and punched. I cannot understand with the undeniable evidence provided why I was denied. Do I even have a valid claim of PTSD and where do I go from here?

      • Kay Derochie

        Dear Dion,

        It appears from the context of your question that the VA has issued a written determination letter denying your claim for PTSD. If this is the case, you have one year in which to file a response disagreeing with the VA’s ruling. You should consult with a VA accredited attorney in your area to see if you have reasonable grounds for an appeal. You can find a list of VA accredited attorneys at http://www.va.gov.

        Sincerely,
        Craig L. Ames
        Accredited VA Attorney

  • Jim

    Hi, I am 100% disabled and my letter from VA said I would be reviewed and 36 months I’ve been seeing civilian doctors because it’s so close how do I get my civilian records into the VA system so they can see them for my C&P reevaluation?

    Best Regards

    Jim

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jim,

      You can contact your civilian doctors and request a copy of your medical records which, in turn, you can hand deliver to the VA when you have your C&P exam.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • I had PTSD before i went into basic training. A lots of things they did in basic training was what i went through as a child. My brother and law got kill in front of me then the guy try to shoot me to.when i went too basic it bought a lots of that back. I started to have panic attack was in the hospital for a week fo lung problems. Never was sick until I went to basic always getting EKG. I wa 20years old now59 been in and out of mental ward never was able to work.long Story short I never came back to reality after basic training. Can I file for PTSD.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jonathan,

      You can always file a claim for benefits so long as your contentions are plausible. But, a plausible claim does not mean it is meritorious. You should seek the advise of a not-for-profit VA charitable organization, such as the American Legion or Disabled American Veterans, which can offer free advise in evaluating your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • Sherry

    Good Evening,

    I am a 100% Total/Combined…how often will I be reevaluated for my PTSD and other disabilities ( knees, back, feet, hips…)? I do take medication for RA for pain every day for the last 2 years and that helps with the pain. I know since I am 47 that I still can be reevaluated. I do go to all my appointments when I have them wheather for mental or other other problems. My highest percentage is 70% for my PTSD/anexity. The others are 30% or below.

    V/R
    Sherry

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sherry,

      It is up to the discretion of the Department of Veterans Affairs as to if and when a claimant is reevaluated. As long as you are getting care for your condition and remain disabled, the timing of a review if there is one should not matter.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • Colleen

    Hello,

    I just recently filed and was awarded 50% disability but was offered work as a contractor in Kuwait. Will this effect my rating or check from the VA?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Colleen,

      No. So enjoy the new job. But, any claim award for VA compensation is always subject to audit and review. Sometimes a person’s disability improves or becomes so minimal that the rating can be reduced by the VA to no rating. Failure to comply with a medical examination associated with the review, known as a “C & P Exam,” can result in a full claim termination.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • Darin Cogdell

    I am currently rated at 40% and I have filed several claims for an increase with little or no success. My feet was rated at 30% for Pes Planus and has worsen since my retirement but it seems very challenging to get a doctor to re-examine my feet. What can I do? With whom can I contact?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Darin,

      You will need to proactively locate a physician at your own expense to conduct a medical examination. Request that the doctor prepare a medical opinion report for submission to the VA. Most doctors will do so; but such a report is costly, about $1,000. Remember that the doctor’s opinion may not support your contention as to linkage to an in-service medical event. That is the heart of the problem with how a doctor can issue such a medical opinion.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • richard nicholson

    My dad was on 100% disability.He passed away recnently due to complications after an annuerism surgery under the va care. he was 2 yrs short of his 10 yrs on on 100% for my mother to rec his benefits. I’ve heard he may get 2 yrs credit towards his years if he served in vietnam, i was wondering if there is any truth to this. My mother could use all the help she can get. ty

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Richard,

      The VA law is more than 2,000 pages. If there were any changes to add a two-year credit in your situation, it would be in the Congressional Record. You can visit the Congressional Record on the web by doing a Google search. One certain way to check this out is to make an appointment to visit your local VA Service Center. In the alternative it would be best to visit your state’s VA Regional Office. You can check for the location of the nearest VA Regional Office at the VA home page for its website.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • Mckenna

    I am a 58 yo female Vet. My Award for PTSD was given last year 08/2015 with back pay. I’m rated 50% Temporary at 50%. Given my age, will I be expected to be re-evaluated, another C&P exam? When, if at all, will my 50% go permanent?
    I’m also needing to return to work part time, if I can maintain employment. How will that affect my temp. to perm rating?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear McKenna,

      Any VA claim is always at any time subject to reevaluation. The nature of disabilities is that some are temporary and others are permanent. For example, a broken leg is a temporary medical condition. On the other hand, blindness is permanent. Accordingly each claim depends on the nature of the disability. People do recover from PTSD so it is subject to reevaluation.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • Mark

    I am 70 percent disabled for PTAs. I’m an aircraft mechanic and I find myself getting more stressed every day. I’m also losing my memory. Can I get my percentage up to 100 percent?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Mark,

      Any claim rating can be increased with new medical evidence substantiating an aggravation of a pre-existing, in-service medical condition. I suggest you obtain a written medical opinion after consultation with a private board-certified mental health physician or clinical psychologist. That is the best way to proof your contention of an increase in rating.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • Russ

    Hi Kay,
    I applied for SSDI and Im a veteran at 100% T & P since November 2012. I know the most social security pays it says 12 months prior to application, but I’m seeing others that are getting back pay from there VA disability date, which mine is Nov. 2012. My question is, if approved will I get back pay from Nov. 2012?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Russ,

      Back pay is limited to twelve months before application. Individuals who are being paid back to 2012 filed their initial applications in 2013 or earlier and had to appeal multiple times for approval.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Russ

        So the most I will get is 12 months back pay, nothing after the application?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Russ,

          If you receive a fully favorable decision, you will also receive payment for all months after the application.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • lou ramirez

    I am 100%p/t from VIETNAM I have PTSD&TBI I am collecting SSI.
    Can I file for Disability I was laid off from work last Dec after 23 years.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lou,

      You should have your case reviewed by an accredited Social Security attorney. You can go to the SSA’s website at http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/ and do a search by zip code for a qualified attorney where you live.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • Brandie Wells

    I am a 40% service connected disabled vet and have a question. I was working for DOD as a federal employee and was retired based solely on my service connected disability via OPM. I was also just found disabled by Social Security based on my SCD and several other illnesses/injuries, some of which are residual effects of my SC injuries. The VA denied my claim for increase. Should I upload the ALG decision, get an attorney or?? Thank you for your help.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brandie,

      You should have a VA accredited attorney review your claim to determine whether it would be beneficial to consider filing an appeal. A list of accredited attorneys is available on the VA website.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • Nicholas Ilacad Bettinger

    I have a 20% shoulder disability, and they state i need more surgery, if i dont get the surgery, will i be able to get a higher rating?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Nicholas,

      Undertaking or withholding surgery is not the way to think about a compensation claim. When one files a claim, a veteran is making a contention that he or she is disabled to a measurable degree. So in your case, the VA has ruled your shoulder is rated at 20% due to three factors: (a) you incurred an in-service injury, (b) you have a diagnosis of a chronic medical condition, and (c) the current condition links directly back to the in-service medical event.

      By contenting you have a higher degree of disability, you must prove you have a chronic condition which is not capable of treatment. No one is required to seek medical correction of a problem if it is elective in nature. Your condition may or may not be correctable. But you need to prove the degree of reduction in your ability to perform activities of daily living. In other words, how are you going to measure the degree of increase in your disability from 20% to a higher percentage? The VA uses objective measurement systems to determine changes or lack of changes in a disability. It is not enough to have a medical condition. That condition must result in a measurable disability. To prove measurable disability you must have quantifiable records.

      Also, the VA will look at dis-qualifiers. What if one breaks a leg and refuses to have the leg “set”. If the leg were “set” the medical condition would be eliminated. So setting a leg is a medical requirement. You may subjectively think you don’t have to go through with the surgery to set the leg and you have the right to so refuse. But to a reasonable person, that would be a foolish decision not to correct the broken leg. So the VA would state refusal of necessary treatment would be a dis-qualifier. So you will get pushback from the VA about whether or not a particular treatment option is elective or not and what are the consequences for not having the treatment.

      In the final analysis, the VA will make a judgement. A “judgment” is always subjective. Also note that majority of all VA compensation claims are for rating increases and 70% of this claims are denied outright by the VA.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • bill

    Would you please email me. I have some questions of POC’s in Saint Louis MO.

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bill,

      Questions are answered on this site and not via email, so please post your questions here. Your personal email will not be visible to the public.

      Thank you,
      Kay

  • Michael Stephens

    I have filed a claim for PTSD I was turned down because they said I have cope with it. I take medication and I see two therapist on a monthly bases. They do not see me when I am at my low times and have trouble just getting out of bed. I am a Viet Nam vet served three years in the Marine Corp. I was in the 0311 Infantry. What can I do, I feel I have been shut off.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      You have not indicated the type of claim you have filed and with whom. If you filed a VA compensation benefit claim, your claim will be staged for processing. Due to backlogs in the V.A., your claim can be slow in working its way to a determination. The V.A. will mail you a written determination letter. Often that determination can take several years. In the interim the V.A. will periodically contact you for informational requests. You might want to check with a local veterans organization such as the American Legion or Disabled Veterans of America to obtain educational materials about the V.A. claim process.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited V.A. Attorney

      • Lisa

        Dear Kay,

        I am currently a 90% service connected disabled veteran. My total disabilities add up to 180%. It seems when I apply for an increase the VA finds a way to lower me. Do you have any suggestions?

        Thank you.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Lisa,

          You need to distinguish a solo rating for a single disability from a combined rating involving multiple body parts. The VA determines multiple ratings based upon a weighting that the combination of disabilities has upon disabilities. In other words, the VA does not add up each rating to reach a sum.

          The issue is whether or not you are totally disabled, which goes to your ability or lack thereof to perform activities of daily living. To obtain an additional ten percent rating increase can be a long and difficult process. The bottom line is that you need medical evidence proving the increase in rating is medically justified.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • jaime berrios

    I 90 percent. Va disabled and receive social security disability for PTSD YET I was denied UI because they state non of my conditions impair me to work I have A PTSD Rating of 50 percent and 60 percent for asthma yet i was denied UI

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jaime,

      If you have a question, please post it and I will forward it to an accredited VA attorney for response.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • jaime berrios

        THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLY AND I APOLOGIZE BUT WHERE DO I POST MY QUESTION AND AGAIN I AM SORRY DONT REALLY KNOW HOW THIS SITE WORKS AND WHERE I HAVE TO POST MY QUESTION.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Jaime,

          Go to the VA tab on the navigation bar at the top of any page on this website. Then open any article and scroll down till you see a blank comment box.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • John bryant

    I’ve been @90% rated 70%ptsd and 20%type diebetes 1969 usmc combat vet! In2014 was rated 90%!my va doc has put me on heavy meds for my PTSD I’m having lots of trouble with the meds! Can’t work!!! So I’m thinking of retiring can I reply for 100% PTSD because I can’t work? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear John,

      One can always submit a claim application to the VA. However, each new claim subjects all ratings to a de novo review. This means the current combined rating can be increased, remain the same, or decreased. So, one needs to think carefully about opening a claim. Whether one can work or not is not the test which VA uses. You can consider a claim for Individual Unemployabiliity (IUE). An IUE claim is not the same as filing a claim for an increase in PTSD rating. You should review the materials on the VA website as to what is involved with a IUE claim.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • David

    Hi,

    I was recently just awarded 50% disability for PTSD however I believe I should have a higher rating. Would it help my appeal or request for re-evaluation if I write a letter explaining in detail exactly how my service connected trauma has affected my life during and after service? I seperated from the service in 2007 and didn’t file my claim until March of this year due to ignorance and pride thinking I could tough my issues out with time. In my award letter they stated they believe I could improve over time however it’s been 8-9 years since I was in theater and my condition hasn’t improved. Would including my driving abstract and w-2’s or lack thereof help my appeal so they can see evidence of my job history coorelated with my driving record and the service related triggers? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear David,

      You need a medical professional such as a board-certified psychologist to render a medical opinion as to the nature and degree of your mental health disorder. A statement from you is not a medical opinion nor does it add substantive new and material evidence to your claim.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • Michael Williams

    i was wondering what Paperwork/document i need to file a disability claim. Should i upload my medical record from the Army on it and my profile. What else do i need to claim disability

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Michael,

      You can start a Social Security Disability (SSDI) claim by going to http://www.ssa.gov and clicking on Disability. The basic claim form is online. Once you submit that you will be sent an SSA–3368 for a statement of your medical history and an SSA-3369 for your work history (or you can search online and get the forms that way). To my knowledge, you cannot upload medical records, but you can print them or copy them and submit them with the SSA-3368.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Charlene Montoya

    I was recently rated at 90%, however, a couple of my issues I feel are not correctly rated according to my Comp and Pen physical. I am a female Marine Corps veteran of the tailhook era, and yes I served in the air wing. In my Comp and Pen the evaluated noted physical evidence in my medical record and stated that PTSD has a “severe” effect on my daily life, but my PTSD rating is only 50%. I also have a bad knee that is described as “deformed” in my exam but they only rated me 10%. The remaining ratings are from a broken back with nerve damage. I was seeking an increase to 100% due to my overall conditions worsening with time. Do I need to locate an attorney? If so how much do they cost? Or is this the best rating I can look forward to?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Charlene,

      It would be a good idea to have legal representation. I suggest that you call Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1213 and request to speak to a VA attorney. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Deandra Mingo

    I just filed a claim in April of this year, and they are already at the point of a decision. The veteran office that I filed at gave me the status update a few days ago. I was told that this process could take up to 6 months. Mine seems to be going fast and it makes me nervous. Im concerned about what they will decide because I was injured during my 7th week of training and didnt graduate. Am I still eligible even though I was in training? It was a back injury and I waited five years because I felt like they thought I was telling a lie.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deandra,

      As long as you have submitted a plausible claim, the VA will investigate and ultimately render a decision. Each claim is individually reviewed. You have a simple, single-fact claim so it probably will not take long for the VA to render a decision. I cannot predict whether your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • William Doggett

    I am currently rated at 30% disability from the VA, for tinnitus, rt foot (missile launcher went through my foot), carpel tunnel in both wrists. I retired from the NAVY in Jan 1999. my original claim was for the above as well as rt shoulder possible rotator cuff tear, Hypertension, Lower back problems etc… which were denied because of insufficient evidence. I was an Aviation Ordnanceman for 21 yrs. lifting, pushing, pulling, twisting. worked the flight deck of more carriers I’d like to think about. I resubmitted a new claim last year for the same problems only continuously getting worse as I get older. My claim was denied again for insufficient evidence. My original letter stated I needed more evidence for Hypertension and Rotator cuff tear. Unfortunately by the time I got an appt for my shoulder 4 yrs later from the VA, it tore in half 35 days prior to my appointment and I had to have 4 surgeries since. A month after I retired I was being treated for hypertension from a family practitioner in town. I submitted statements from my Dr as well as the MRI of my back and shoulder. and all treatment I have received since retiring. I want to appeal their decision, but it says I need to provide proof that I was injured while on active duty. I know when my rotator cuff got injured and how. as well as when my back got injured. seeing as I only went to medical aboard ship 2 times in 21 yrs for my back pain way back in 1982. Which I was referred out in town. I have no access to those records from the civilian Dr. I wasn’t a sick bay commando, and dealt with most of my injuries on my own, however, some of the things I did go to medical for were not in my medical record. Such as stitches to my eye when a gun crank broke out and hit me above the eye, or, when on Det to Oman, got stung by a scorpion. or while on det to Holland got frost bite on my fingers. while loading missiles on an F/A 18. I spent my entire career in seagoing squadrons A-7, H-3, HH-60, S-3b, F/A -18. Our records were hardly ever in the same place we were. Most of our time when not aboard ship were on Detachment somewhere other than our Home Port and the Corpsman was usually no where to be found. My question is, how can I convince the VA that all of these injuries occurred while on Active duty? This email is long enough, but there is a lot more to this story. I just need a place to start.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear William,

      You need to prove (1) that you have a current medical condition, (2) which links back to an in-service medical condition or injury. A mere allegation that something incurred in-service is not proof that it has a relationship. You need to support your allegation (claim) by in-service medical records or personnel records or statements from military eye witnesses.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

      • W.R. Doggett

        Thank you for your response. With my shoulder, it was noted in my retirement physical that I had a possible rotator cuff tear. it was also noted that my blood pressure was too high on 2 occasions prior to my retirement. it has been a very long time. I can’t get anyone who remembers a specific incident on the flight deck. (there were so many). Like I said my Medical records were hardly ever in the same place I was. The very nature of my job has worn my body down. I have been told that my appeal would be a waste of time and energy. I am at a loss now.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear W.R.,

          Your statements alone are insufficient to prove an in-service medical injury. It may take a skilled lawyer to review the claim to determine if your allegations or claims can be proven. The lawyer will know how to do so if you have an actionable (approvable) case.

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames
          Accredited VA Attorney

  • Ralph Sellers

    I am presently rated at 90% disability due to a number of issues. However, I was just recently denied further compensation on a Hip issue. I have degenative arthritisis of the both hips and it is a condition that is documented. I recently had hip surgery from my private physician who removed all my hip cartlidge as well, as shave the ball of my hip joint. The denial stated that there was no dengenative arthritisis in my hips and that my limitations of movement were not effected. However, I cannot cross my feet over together, I cannot bend to put a sock or shoe on, I can only walk for about 10 mins and then have to rest due to the pain of no cartlidge in my hip. I included all the records of my surgery in my claim. They had my previous records showing the limitation of movement and arthritisis, should I appeal and resubmit all paperwork again.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ralph,

      One can always file an appeal. But, you will need to prove how your current medical condition links back to a medical event that was incurred in service. Just because you have had surgery does not prove linkage to an in-service medical injury, illness or medical condition. So, the issue remains of how you are going to prove that your current condition relates to a service-connected medical problem.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

      Sin

  • James

    Hello,

    I am presently 90% disabled according to the VA. I have been denied service connection for an os acromiale issue in my shoulder because the VA said I didn’t have anything in my medical records in service stating that I had pain in my shoulder. The VA performed surgery on my shoulder last year and I put in a claim a year before that. I have documented in my records that I was thrown by a close proximity explosion in 2007. My PTSD, back, knees, migraine, TBI, and tinnitis are all claimed and rated as a result of the IED explosion. Do you know of any reason they would deny my shoulder condition if they rated all the other injuries?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear James,

      You do not state in the context of your question that you ever had incurred a shoulder injury in-service.You do not reference anywhere that the explosion in 2007 caused the os acromiale issue. You must submit proof that the shoulder injury incurred in-service and link that injury to your current medical condition.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • I received SSDI in June 2014 and would like to know if I can do part time work. I will be reviewed again in 3 years by SSDI. I would like to know if working will effect my disability if working prior to my review. I know I am able to work under guidelines, but am not sure if any type of working will terminate my disability. I am 58 years old and approaching retirement.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Dmili,

      Please see my reply under the question where you posted your first inquiry.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • ARNOLD HENINGBURG

    Hello:

    I was approved for VA 100 % disability a few years ago, but the VA just paid me from the day I applied, I had been disabled since 2001 after all my medical condition service related were exacerbated and I had thrombosis and some heart attacks. Is there a form or some way for the VA to back pay me from the time I was deemed disabled 10 years prior to me applying for VA disability since I was not aware I could apply until 10 years after my illnesses became worse.

    Arnold

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Arnold,

      A specific VA rule applies in the situation you describe. That rule states benefit payments are based upon the date your claim was filed. The VA will not back date payments retroactive to when the injury occurred. Here’s one of the reasons: when you incurred that injury, you were being paid a military salary, and you received room and board plus received free medical treatment. Hence, you had no out-of-pocket expenses nor income loss due to that injury at that time.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  • Danise

    I have two different situations. I was on ssi and I went to jail for 28 months. Since I got out I have reapplied for ssi and ssd. I had credits missing when I first filed my claim and received ssi. I took all the paper work to social security from 2006 years ago and they never processed and changed me from ssi to ssd. The former employer is giving me the run around.My house was destroyed and I no longer have copies of the w2 IRS states that they only go back ten years, what do I need to do? The other crisis that I am having is social security is requested that I get a form ssa4814 filled out and the last doctors that I saw was jail doctors, but they state that they are not allowed to fill out social security paper work. What do I need to do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Danise,

      You should have the right to get your jail medical records. Try to get a statement from the jail or the doctor that he or she is not allowed to complete Social Security questionnaires.

      As far as trying to prove your missing work earnings, you are in a tough place. The former employer may or may not have records back that far. Also, if the earnings did not show up in your Social Security record, it is possible that the employer did not pay the taxes to the government or that they were accidentally paid on an incorrect Social Security number (SSN) and thus credited to someone else’s account. All you can do is to continue to try to get the employer to look to see if they can find the records to check to see if an incorrect SSN was used.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Bree

    I was discharged from the military in 2003. I am a 90% rated disabled vet and I receive VA 100% total disability. My disability occurred in 2003. I worked full time for the 15 years prior to my disability. I have PTSD, major depression, severe migraines, arm and shoulder mobility issues, and upper and lower spinal stinosis. I applied for SSDI and was denied in 2009. I didn’t file an appeal. I know that the time has passed but someone told me that since I had a VA rated 100% total disability that I could reapply for SSDI because my disability was service connected. I don’t believe it but I was hoping that you could let me know if I could still apply.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Bree,

      I do not believe that your military pension standing affects the rules under which you can appeal outside the appeals period or file a new claim. You should double check with Social Security; however, I believe that you would not be successful with new application because you would have to claim a disability date after the 2009 denial and, having last worked in 2003, you would not be insured for Social Security in 2009 or later.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Kimmie

    From my understanding, Service Members prior to the 1980s didn’t pay out Social Security in their paychecks. I know someone in this situation who was in the Navy. He was exposed to many chemicals working in the boiler rooms and ended up getting A rare form of lukemia. The VA has recognized his disability as a fight, but
    Since his diagnosis some eight years ago he has been denied social
    Security because back then, they didn’t pay into the system. He can’t work and hasn’t yet received any VA compensation. Is there a way around this situation? What should he do?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kimmie,

      Your friend can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability if his income and assets (and his wife’s if he is married and living with his spouse) are within the SSI limitations. Information about the SSI program can be found under the SSI tab on the navigation bar of this website.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Robert

    Morning Kay,

    You responded to me before and I thank you. New question, I just got initial approval for SSD through NYS DDD last week from the state level. How long does it take or what steps to start getting my checks. They received all my VA medical information and was told (DDD) I am on a waiting list for a Hip Replacement by the VA hospital in NYC.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Robert,

      If you have not been contacted by your local office within a week, call the office and ask what actions they need to be take before payment is issued and how long they estimate it will take. Also ask if you need to submit anything.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Robert

        Kay,

        Last question I did not applied for SSI so if they approved SSD which takes five month to receive a check will they send SSI payments first?

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Robert,

          You will not get SSI if you did not apply for it.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • William E Teal II

    I am trying to file my VA compensation claim. I cannot find where I would have went to the hospital at when I got hurt at boot camp the summer of 1997 or 1998. Ft McClellan AL. Was told I had shin splints X-rays looked like fractures to me and nothing is in my military records about it so the VA wants to know where I sought treatment? Any ideas? Was there an open hospital on base at that time? I’m coming up blank

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear William,

      William,

      Go to the VA and ask for you “C” file. It will take several months to get it. The records just may appear in that. If not, see if you can locate anyone you served with who may remember what happened and get statements from them. You might also check the local historical society and microfiche of local newspapers for any mention of the hospital.

      James Mitchell Brown
      Attorney at Law

      • William E Teal II

        Thanks have asked a couple guys who were there with me and they are playing shell shock. Or trying to forget that time in there lives. I will try the c file ty so much

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, William.

  • Doug (Another one)

    Hi Kay, your help is much appreciated. I am a disabled veteran trying to fill out my SSDI application online but I am confused as to if my VA disability is considered to be money as a result of work I performed for my a previous employer. Should my VA disability amount go into the form where it says money rec’d from employer?

    Thank you in advance.

    Doug

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Doug,

      Veteran’s disability benefits are considered unearned income and do not need to be listed as income received from a prior employer.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • Douglas A. Smith

    Hello to whom it may concern, I just recieved my 90 percent disability letter from the VA, and I just wanted to see if I qualified for disability thru Social Security? If you could respond to me that would be great.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Douglas,

      Given that the VA is finding 90% disability, there is a reasonable chance that you qualify for Social Security Disability as well. Although Social Security doesn’t use the same rules as the VA, it sounds as if you have significant limitations and could meet Social Security’s definition of disability. You don’t say how long you have been disabled, but it would be a good idea to file a claim before the end of the month to avoid any loss of benefits. It would also be a good idea to get legal representation with your initial application so you don’t have to go into the appeals process. Just give Disability Advisor a call at (888) 393-1010 to talk free of charge with one of their attorneys. You will pay for legal services only if you are awarded benefits, and then Social Security sets the fee and takes care of paying your attorney when they send you back benefits.

      Best regards,
      Kay

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