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Articles Posted in Veteran Affairs

There is an automatic 50% rating for PTSD – but it’s not for everyone, and it’s not permanent. Policy 38 CFR 4.129 states:

“When a mental disorder that develops in service as a result of a highly stressful event is severe enough to bring about the veteran’s release from active military service, the rating agency shall assign an evaluation of not less than 50% and schedule an examination within the six-month period following the veteran’s discharge to determine whether a change in evaluation is warranted” (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1155).

Simply stated, if you are discharged from duty, specifically because PTSD from a known service-related event has made it difficult for you to function at full capacity, you will automatically receive at least a 50% rating for up to 6 months, without further evidence required. However, before the 6 months expire, the veteran will need to be evaluated by a medical professional who is qualified to make a diagnosis of PTSD and rate the level of social and occupational impairment. Though social impairment is a factor, the main criterion for the VA is occupational impairment: how well can you work and support yourself.

Filing with the VA for veterans’ disability benefits is usually a time-consuming process. Sometimes years can go by from the time of initial filing to when your case is settled. It may include requests for additional information, denial of benefits, appeals, and another review before you are granted a disability rating. Because the process can be quite cumbersome, time-consuming, and stressful, especially for a person struggling with a disability, veterans get the best and fastest resolution of their claims with the help of an experienced VA attorney.

Once you’re granted disability, you will begin to receive monthly installments. But what about all the time you waited? Fortunately, the award is retroactive and you will receive a lump sum of benefits when your benefits are awarded. This back pay is dated from the time of your original filing. For example, if you received a disability rating of 50% three years after you initially filed your claim, you will receive a lump sum of three years worth of disability payments at a 50% level. 

Exceptions to the Filing Start Date

The Veterans Administration (VA) allows veterans to hire an attorney to help them with their disability claims only after an initial claim has been denied, or after the VA has offered a benefits award that the veteran does not believe is sufficient. So whether you have been denied or you have received an award that you feel is too low, you are permitted to reach out to a lawyer for help. 

Why Should You Hire an Attorney to Help You With Your Disability Appeal?

If you are already fully versed in legal affairs, as I was when I appealed my own disability award, you may not need help from a lawyer. However, even for me, the process was long, grueling, and stressful. The good news is that retaining an experienced VA lawyer not only saves you that stress, but also improves your chance of success. 

Cancer can strike at any time, but it usually does not become active for years after the cause. Many veterans do not automatically make the connection between their time of service and their cancer diagnosis. But there are many exposures during military service that are presumed to cause cancer and others that can be proven to be either a direct cause or a secondary cause of cancer. If your service to our country caused cancer, you deserve compensation while you fight to defeat this enemy.

Proving Service Connection for Cancer

As with all disability claims, you must be able to demonstrate that you are a veteran of the U.S. military, that you have an honorable discharge, and that there is a connection to military service: a direct connection, an aggravation of an existing condition, a secondary connection, or a presumptive connection. 

Many of the most common ratable conditions that receive VA compensation occur regardless of the branch of the military in which you served – which is why they’re the most common. However, some conditions are seen more often in some branches than in others.                                 

Below is a list of the most common disabilities rated by the VA:

  • Tinnitus, hearing deterioration, or loss

The 100% disability rating is the highest level of disability the VA offers, providing monthly payments along with full medical care for service-related conditions. Other benefits and compensation are also available. This rating can be reached in a number of ways. 

Severe conditions

If you have an extremely severe service-connected condition that makes you unable to work and, in some cases, unable to provide yourself with personal care without help, this condition may be rated as 100% disabled. 

Veterans with a 100% disability rating may be able to work, but depending on how you were awarded the rating, there may be limitations to how much you are allowed to earn. A 100% disability rating can be reached in several ways:

  • One service-related condition that is rated at 100% disability
  • Several conditions that together reach the 100% disability level

If you are looking for help with your VA disability claim it is probably because you are frustrated by the process. After helping countless veterans with their disability claims, we know how confusing it can be. It is particularly difficult if you have received a denial letter and you do not understand why your claim was rejected or what the process is for moving forward. We can help you sort things out. 

First, keep in mind that there are certain requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for disability benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA). Those requirements are:

  • You must be a veteran of the U.S. military

If you receive a disability rating from the VA, you will likely receive some retroactive benefits or back pay. Retroactive benefits are paid in a lump sum after the grant of benefits. Your regular benefits will then be distributed to you on a monthly basis. 

You can apply for disability any time – there is no “statute of limitations” on VA disability. Nevertheless, the sooner you file after leaving the service the better your case may be because it will be easier to collect records and testimonies to support your claim. It may also affect how far back your back pay will go. 

The calculation of the retroactive benefits date is determined by several factors, as follows:

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