VA DISABILITY BENEFITS
What Benefits are Available for Veterans? The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several major veteran disability benefits programs: (1) service-connected veteran disability compensation (compensation) and (2) non-service-connected veteran disability pension (pension). In 2008, more than $42 billion dollars were spent on veteran disability benefits programs, with more than 2,951,600 veterans receiving compensation benefits and 317,600 veterans receiving pension benefits.
Joseph M. Lyon is licensed VA Disability lawyer. If you are a disabled veteran or a family member of a deceased veteran you may be eligible for veteran disability compensation, please call for a free consultation at (800) 513-2403.
What are common types of VA Disability claims?
- Asbestos Exposure
- Veterans Administration Medical Malpractice
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Burn Pits (Iraq and Afghanistan)
- Agent Orange
- Sexual Assault
- Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
- Other Toxic Exposure
What are common types of Injuries Associated with Service Connection?
- Cardiovascular Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Orthopedic Trauma
- Eye Injury
What are the Steps in the Appeals Process ?
- The veteran files the initial veterans disability compensation application. This is done individually with the assistance of the local veterans administration Regional Office. An attorney cannot assist with the initial application;
- An initial decision is made and a notice of its decision is mailed to the claimant. The claimant may appeal within one-year from the date of the decision. An attorney may be retained a this level.
- The appellate process is begun by filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) at the Regional Office.
- After an NOD is filed, the Regional Office asks the claimant whether he or she desires a “de novo” review of the claim (that is, a new and complete review without giving any weight to the previous RO denial) by a Decision Review Officer (DRO).
- If the claimant does not request a DRO review, or if DRO review is requested and the DRO does not grant the claim, the RO then mails a Statement of the Case (SOC). This statement is intended to explain the reasons for the RO’s denial.
- The period within which to perfect an appeal to the BVA begins after the RO mails the SOC. An appeal is perfected by filing a timely Substantive Appeal, which is customarily filed on a special form (VA Form 9).
- The period for filing the Substantive Appeal is within either sixty days from the date of the SOC or the remainder of the one-year period from the date of the Regional Office’s notice of its decision, whichever period ends later
- Once the Substantive Appeal is filed, the case is then transferred to the Board of Veteran’s Appeals which, after an opportunity for a hearing and presentation of additional evidence is afforded to the claimant, renders its decision.
Proving Service Connection for Veteran Disability Compensation
In order to qualify for “service connected” veteran disability compensation, the veteran must provide “competent evidence” to satisfy the following requirements:
- Veteran status,
- Existence of a medical diagnosis of current disability,
- A connection between the veteran’s service and the disability,
- Degree of disability, and
- Effective date of disability.
The VA also pays a form of compensation to surviving spouses, children, and parents of deceased veterans whose deaths were caused by service-connected conditions. This benefit is called dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC).
Non-Service Connected Disability Pension
Pension benefits are similar to supplemental social security income (SSI). To be eligible, the veteran must demonstrate: (1) wartime service, (2) low income, and (3) total and permanent disability. As of September 17, 2001, veterans aged sixty-five years and over are conclusively presumed to be permanently and totally disabled for pension purposes.
Camp Lejeune Cases
The men and women and families stationed at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s to the 1980s were potentially exposed to extremely dangerous industrial solvents, pesticides, heavy metals like benzene and other chemicals. Unfortunately, for the servicemen and women and their families — officials at Camp Lejeune knew about the contaminated water supply for at least 5 years before they shut down the wells. It was a sad episode in US Military history, and an episode Dan Rather called, “the worst example of water contamination this country has ever seen.”
It is tragic that the men and women tasked with protection our land would be injured, not by bullets or grenades, but by waterborne pathogens. They were injured by the very land they swore to protect.
The following list of diseases are completely or partially covered by the VA if you or your loved one can demonstrate probable exposure at Camp Lejeune.
- Esophageal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Renal toxicity
- Female infertility
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Lung cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Hepatic steatosis
- Neurobehavioral effects
Joe Lyon has handled successfully resolved many Camp Lejeune cases and is currently accepting new cases on a contingency fee basis. Please call to speak with Joe for a free consultation at (800) 513-2403.
VA Disability News
- VA Schedule of Ratings – each disability is coded with a 4-digit Diagnostic Code (DC) and the criteria for each rating percentage (always choose the link that starts with “Schedule of Ratings,” e.g. 4.71a – Schedule of Ratings – Musculoskeletal System)
- Military Exposures (specifically Camp Lejeune)- VA will be able to reimburse Veterans’ family members for eligible out-of-pocket health care expenses for 15 health conditions.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury during your or their service in the US Military and have questions about the root cause and the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.
The Lyon Firm is a proud supporter of US Military Veterans.