Posted on: 11 May 2021
If you served on active duty in one of the U.S. military branches, you may be eligible for disability benefits to cover a resulting injury that has had a lasting impact on your life. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as the VA, handles claims for compensation resulting from veterans' disabilities. If you want to file a claim for benefits, an attorney with experience in disability insurance can guide you through the process.
First, Find Out If You're Eligible for Disability Benefits
Not every disabled veteran is eligible to receive benefits, so ask your attorney if you qualify. The main criteria to meet is that your disability must be directly related to your military service. You might have received an injury while on active duty, such as an amputated limb or a traumatic brain injury. If this injury affects your ability to perform daily tasks and hold gainful employment, it's likely that you'll qualify for benefits.
The VA also covers disabilities that you didn't suffer until after you left active duty but are still directly tied to your service. The most prominent example of this is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. If your PTSD or another related disability prevents you from earning an income, then the VA may supplement your income with disability insurance benefits.
A third possibility for qualifying for disability benefits is if you had an existing condition, such as a chronic illness, before you enlisted for military service, and performing your duties made your condition worse. For example, if you had asthma, and exposure to toxic chemicals while on active duty significantly damaged your lungs, then you may qualify for benefits. Ask your attorney whether your condition makes you eligible and how to prove your eligibility.
Gather Documentation to Prove Your Disability
When you file a claim for disability insurance benefits, your application will be scrutinized, so it's important to include as much helpful documentation as possible. Medical records from VA hospitals are the most relevant to connecting your disability to your time on active duty, but notes from your family doctor or another specialist can provide support as well. If the VA receives your application and requests more information, you might have to go in for an exam to determine the extent of your disability. Working with a disability attorney from the beginning can help you ensure that your application is as thorough as possible, to increase the chance that your claim is accepted.
Appeal the Claim If It Gets Denied
It's possible that your claim could get denied if you were discharged less than honorably, if your disability is minor, or if an error on your application caused it to be denied on a technicality. This doesn't mean you will not receive disability benefits; you can still appeal the denial. It's best to rely on an attorney's help for an appeal, so ask your disability lawyer about each step in the process.
For more information about disability claims, contact a local disability lawyer.Share