For those who have served our country in the Armed Forces, Congress has passed a law that provides extensive medical and disability benefits. Unfortunately, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs does not always interpret this law in favor of the veteran. Veterans may be entitled to two different types of disability payments:
- Service-connected compensation benefits
- Nonservice-connected pension benefits.
Because Congress recognized that, sometimes, an event that occurred in service may take many years to cause a disability, the law also states there is no time limit on when a claim can be filed. Therefore, you are entitled to bring a claim long after you have been in service. In some cases, your award may have an effective date that could go back for decades. When this happens, the VA is required to pay you all of the benefits you would have received over the years.
Selecting a Lawyer
Veteran’s disability law is an extremely complex area of law, so it is important to hire a lawyer that specifically specializes veterans disability. Prior to 2006, veterans were not allowed to hire attorneys to represent them in the Regional Office and the BVA. But Congress determined that veterans should have the right to hire legal representation in this very important area of law. Even now, the Veteran’s Department of Veteran’s Affairs only allows those lawyers who have successfully applied for accreditation to represent veterans in the Agency. Through my legal representation, I can help clarify issues and ensure that the claim is properly supported by evidence.
I handle service-connected compensation claims on a contingency basis, meaning you do not pay me a fee unless you recover past-due benefits from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
1. What do I have to prove to obtain service connected veterans’ disability?
In order to obtain service connected disability compensation you must show: (1) You were discharged or released with an honorable discharge, or discharge under honorable conditions, or a general discharge; (2) That your disease or injury was incurred, or aggravated during active service; (3) Your disability is not a result of your own willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs; and (4) There must be a nexus between your current disability and your in-service disease, injury or aggravation .
2. Do I have to have stopped working to receive service connected veteran’s disability?
No. The fact that you are still working does not prevent you from receiving a service connected disability, but it may prevent you from receiving a high level of compensation such as unemployability (TDIU).
3. Are my benefits reduced because I have savings, bank accounts own my home etc?
No. The payment of service connected disability benefits is not affected by your income or assets.
4. Do you charge for an initial conference?
I do not charge for my initial interview with you to review your claim and to answer any questions that you have.
I typically become involved in a claim after the Regional Office has either denied your claim, or has not given you the rating that you feel is warranted. I will help you file your Notice of Disagreement for free. I will represent you in the Decision Review Officer process, the development and appeal at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and at the United States Court of Veterans Appeals. I also continue my representation when cases are remanded back to the Veterans Administration.
If you have questions about Veterans’ service connected disability, your claim, my abilities, my fees, or the services that I offer, please feel free to telephone me at (303) 986-6400.
5. What does it cost me to hire an attorney?
If you hire me, my fee for representing you on your claim is a contingency fee of 20% of your back benefits. If I am not successful in obtaining benefits for you then I receive no fee for my time. There is no minimum fee. I do not charge a retainer fee, or require prepayment for expenses. If I am successful and you are awarded service connection with a disability rating and or unemployability (TDIU) is determined, then 20% of your back benefit would be my attorney fee.
I will charge you for the cost of obtaining your medical records, doctor reports, photocopying and postage, to be paid by you as they are incurred in your case.
Our agreement will be in writing and it will be submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs and must be approved by it before I can charge you anything for my time.
6. What other things besides the fee should I consider when I am looking to hire an attorney?
I limit my practice to representing only Social Security disability claims and Veterans’ disability claims. Disability claims are becoming more complex every day and my experience is in the area you need. I have been practicing law since 1979. I am licensed to practice in the United States Court of Veterans Appeals since 1993. I am accredited by the VA. If you hire me, then I will be the attorney responsible from beginning to end in representing you. I do not hand your case off to a non attorney, paralegal, or other attorney after I have agreed to represent you.