WHAT BENEFITS DOES THE VA PROVIDE?
The VA provides a varied selection of benefits to veterans. Disability compensation is available to veterans injured or with conditions from service or from the exacerbation of conditions due to service. To these disabled veterans there are also stipends for mobility access; for instance, to build ramps or acquire a vehicle for veterans who have difficulty getting around. TDIU is provided for veterans with at least one disability rated at 60% who do not qualify for 100% disability but due to the condition have difficulties maintaining substantial gainful employment. There are also a variety of stipends that can assist in small business, life insurance, and funding for mobility assistance like vans or ramps.
CAN I QUALIFY FOR TDIU EVEN IF I DO ODD JOBS TO MAKE ENDS MEET?
In most cases, yes. Substantial gainful employment is the standard which implies a full-time job with which you can support yourself. Odd jobs to make ends meet are not sufficient to deny Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability. The RO will weigh the conditions the veteran has been diagnosed with versus the possible forms of employment they could secure that would allow them to support themselves. Consult with a VA attorney or a local veteran’s advocate group on your individual case.
I WAS DISCHARGED FROM THE SERVICE WITH A LESS THAN HONORABLE DISCHARGE. CAN I GET BENEFITS?
In order to receive benefits outside of normal veteran’s health care, your discharge must be considered honorable. This limits the eligible discharges to honorable or general discharge. Other than honorable and less do not qualify for benefits.
IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO CHANGE MY CHARACTER OF DISCHARGE?
Yes. You can petition your branch to have your discharge upgraded. This can be done by showing extraneous factors that may have led to a less than honorable discharge. Examples may include an AWOL on record that arose due to a family emergency or often pre-existing mental conditions that the veteran and the military were not aware of during service that affect veteran’s ability to serve. In order to determine your character of discharge, request a DD214 form or have a VA representative do it for you. This discharge decision may decide whether you receive benefits for your service or not.
MY CLAIM FOR BENEFITS HAS BEEN DENIED. WHAT CAN I DO?
If the Regional Office has denied your disability claim, there are several courses of action to appeal. Be sure to contact a VA attorney or veteran’s representative to assist if needed. First, the veteran may supplement their claim with new information. This may require getting a Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) executed by your physician to further document the conditions for which you seek disability. A motion for reconsideration may also be appropriate. If all the relevant information has been submitted and the decision was still adverse, appeals may be the way to go. The veteran has the right under several theories to appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals. Here, a Judge of the Board will be assigned to review the decision of the Regional Office with which you originally filed the claim. If you wish to appeal beyond this point, the Court of Appeals for Veteran’s Claims is the next step. All of these levels of review can be done pro se (by the veteran themselves), or you may wish to seek out an attorney experienced in VA matters or a local veteran’s service organization for assistance.
IF I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT VA BENEFITS THAT I MAY BE ENTITLED TO OR WITH CLAIMS FOR BENEFITS THAT I AM CURRENTLY PURSUING, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
The VA provides a variety of resources to determine eligibility and the necessary steps to pursue your claim. There are also a multitude of veteran’s organizations that help with claims along with providing a wide range of community support to veterans across the country. Finally, if you need assistance with filing, appealing, or determining your rights, contact Ludlum & King, LLC today. We always offer a free consultation, and we only get paid on contingency, meaning if you do not get paid, we do not get paid. If you want to know if you may be entitled to benefits through the VA, let us help you pursue them today.