Veterans Disability Frequently Asked Questions
Veterans who are hurt or who become sick during their service often have questions. Here, we have collected some of the most commonly asked questions and our veterans disability lawyers and here we share our answers to these questions with you. Please browse the questions and our answers to learn more about VA disability benefits.
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Will the VA reimburse me for Examination or Travel Costs?
Unfortunately, the VA will not reimburse you for medical examinations or travel expenses obtained while traveling to and from your doctor's office. This information is disclosed on the DBQ form, as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Website. Veterans are completely responsible for their medical costs and travel expenses during the DBQ filing process. However, the VA may request you to have a medical appointment, and this examination is free as long as you make a scheduled compensation appointment. There is no fee to have your doctor fill out a DBQ.
What is the Purpose of a DBQ?
The purpose of a DBQ is to organize all of the necessary documents regarding your claim. This questionnaire provides Veterans with an effective way to provide the Department of Veterans Affairs with evidence supporting their claim. The DBQ also provides a way for Veterans to have more power over their filing process. Veterans should know they can have their providers fill out more than 70 DBQs corresponding to their medical condition. A licensed provider will fill out the DBQ.
If you want to see the list of questionnaires provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, click here.
Do I Meet the Requirements for a DBQ?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' website explains that people pursuing Veterans' disability coverage must have their DBQ signed by a licensed, medical professional. They must have at least one of the medical conditions listed on the questionnaire, and to complete the DBQ, the Veteran must have one of the two people sign it:
- A private treatment provider, or
- A clinician from the Veterans Health Administration
However, please note that some providers may not sign the DBQ for professional reasons, and other specialty doctors may also decline for professional reasons.
How Do I File an Appeal?
Once you are denied benefits, you have one year to file an appeal. The one year period begins the date your denial letter was sent to you, not the day you received it.
To appeal your claim, you must file a Notice of Disagreement. You can use VA Form 21-4138 is used to file a NOD, and you should write a letter detailing why you disagree with their decision.
This is what you should include in your NOD:
- A letter at the top of your 21-4138 form
- The date of your denial letter and your ratings
- Explain why you disagree
- State that you intend to repeal your claim
Choose whether you want your appeal to be reviewed by a decision review officer or the Board of Veterans Appeals.
File your appeal with the VA office.
How Many Conditions Does Veterans' Disability Cover?
Veterans' disability covers over 70 medical conditions such as heart conditions, kidney conditions, and endocrine conditions. Some other conditions veterans' disability can cover are hypertension, arthritis, and prostate cancer. Click here to see a detailed list.
What is a Service-Related Benefit?
A service-related benefit is an amount of money you receive for any injuries you obtained while serving in the military. Here are the qualifications you must make in order to receive service-connected compensation:
- You must have served in the U.S. military, navy, or air force.
- You must have been honorably discharged. If you were dishonorably discharged, you cannot receive benefits.
- You must have sustained an injury or illness because of your service during war-time.
- Your injury/illness must be diagnosed by a doctor.
- You must be able to prove the event that happened during your service caused your injury/illness.
When am I required to hear back about my Veterans disability benefits application?
There is no set time for how long the Department of Veterans Affairs will need to process your claim. The VA has experienced a tremendous accumulation of claims within the last few years, which has caused the procedure to last a long time. Back in 2013, the VA transitioned to a revised digital system developed to help expedite veterans claims, but the transition process contributed to more delays. There have been other routes taken to shorten this process, but unfortunately, some caused people to receive denials without having all the proper evidence needed in order to determine whether or not their claim could truly be accepted.
Overall, there is no specific deadline for the VA to respond to disability applications. Our North Carolina veterans disability attorneys encourage individuals to apply as soon as possible and to double-check and triple-check that all appropriate documents are included and completed correctly. One error could contribute to delays or an unnecessary denial, further contributing to wait times.
What happens when an applicant dies before their request for Veterans disability benefits is approved?
In the unfortunate event a former military member predeceases the processing of their Veterans disability benefits application, their claim is no longer valid.
Surviving dependents have the opportunity to file a claim for accrued benefits. Qualified dependents would generally be eligible for the benefits they were entitled to up until the time of the veteran's death as long as those benefits had not already been paid to them.
Important note: Surviving dependents only have one year from the date of the veteran's death to apply for accrued benefits.
The stress and grief after losing a loved one could easily and rightfully distract loved ones from processing important paperwork. If you believe you're entitled to accrued benefits and need assistance understanding eligibility, calculating benefits, and properly completing paperwork by deadline - give us a call 800-849-5931 or complete an online request form. We represent veterans and family members of veterans across the entire state of North Carolina. Our initial consultation is free of charge.
What paperwork do I need to apply for Veterans' disability benefits?
Individuals who believe they are eligible for Veterans' disability benefits will need to complete certain documentation. Our North Carolina veterans disability attorneys in Fayetteville help active and retired military members navigate this process. If you're just getting started, we include the initial documents needed for applications below. Keep in mind: A document error or filing mistake could delay an application or contribute to a denial. Consider asking one of our Fayetteville disability attorneys to review your case:
- One such item is the compensation request document VA Form 21-526 (with an asbestos exposure summary). This happens to be the same form an individual would use to apply for their military pension. There is also an online application for veterans disability.
- Another form needed is proof of discharge, the DD Form 214. Individuals who misplaced a copy of this document can contact the National Personnel Records Center, which can provide a copy.
- Evidential documentation supporting your disability is very important. Gather all relevant medical records.
- Supporting documents showing independents. If the individual has a spouse, depending on tax filing and income limitations the spouse may be classified as a dependent. Secure a copy of a marriage certificate. Whether the applicant has dependent children should also be documented with birth certificates of children. These factors could affect types of benefits the disabled veteran and their family have access to. For example, a disabled veteran's spouse and children are generally eligible for certain education and health care benefits if the veteran is recognized as 'totally and permanently disabled.' Adult children may be eligible for some benefits as well. Additional family benefits include complimentary vocational counseling and scholarship applications.
Once you have all your paperwork in order, learn more about applying for veterans disability benefits.
Can I continue my military service and still remain eligible for Veterans' disability benefits?
Certain Veterans with low disability ratings are allowed to continue their military service while receiving disability benefits, however, they are not eligible to receive payment from the military and Veterans disability benefits at the same time.
Generally, during the time of service the Veterans disability payments would be suspended.
Have more questions about receiving disability benefits in North Carolina? Check out our frequently asked questions section on disability: Disability Benefits FAQs.
Can I have a job and still receive Veterans disability benefits?
Yes, individuals may have a job while receiving Veterans' disability benefits. However, if the disabled worker has a disability rating of 100%, they are considered unemployable. If one works at this rating they might receive lower monthly disability payments. Also, individuals who work and receive Veterans' disability benefits generally do not receive Social Security disability benefits.
North Carolina has a high population of veterans and our attorneys represent injured military members statewide. Fortunately, our lawyers also represent Social Security disability claimants as well. Individuals who are concerned about eligibility, navigating a denial, or unsure about their income limitations can schedule a consult. Please don't hesitate to contact us with questions. Our initial consult is free of charge.
Am I able to collect veterans' disability benefits for a brain injury if I was originally injured before I started to serve?
Individuals who have a pre-existing condition that is exacerbated due to military service might qualify for veterans' disability benefits. Eligible health conditions do not necessarily need to initially occur during active duty or the scope of military service. An individual might be eligible for benefits if combat or another military activity or military environment caused an existing brain injury (or other condition) to become worse.
Military members could experience a number of situations that might intensify an existing condition. Whether a blast-related concussion or a slip-and-fall head trauma increased the severity of a brain injury, the individual or someone working on their behalf can gather medical records and prepare an application for veterans disability benefits.
Brain injuries could fall on a wide spectrum of severity. Traumatic brain injury symptoms can range from sporadic memory loss to permanent memory loss, partial paralysis to full paralysis, unpredictable emotions that cause a danger to others or oneself, or inability to care for oneself. Depending on the nature of the injury, the individual might require daily visits from a home health aide, 24/7 professional care, home modifications, and more. Veterans disability benefits can help contribute to these costs, treatments, or replace lost income. When an individual applies for veterans' disability benefits, the Department of Veterans' Affairs will issue a disability pay rating. The rating will determine the value of the monthly compensation the applicant is entitled to receive.
Individuals who had an injury prior to starting their military career and whose injury became worse as a direct result of military service should review their case with a veterans disability attorney before preparing their application for benefits. Our North Carolina injury law firm provides a complimentary consultation with a veterans disability attorney. Reviewing an application with an attorney can ensure all required documents and supporting materials are completed accurately and by certain deadlines. Contact us to schedule a consult with a North Carolina veterans disability attorney.
Medicare & VA Benefits: Will Medicare or other government benefits impact my VA disability benefits?
The relationship between Medicare and VA benefits for disability is a common concern for recipients of VA disability benefits. It’s important first to understand that once something has been covered by Medicare, the VA (Veteran’s Affairs) cannot pay for the same service and vice versa.
Determining Who Pays Medical Expenses: Medicare or VA Benefits
Treatment generally can be received under any type of government benefit program the recipient receives. But it’s up to the beneficiary to decide which benefits will be used whenever taking a trip to the doctor or receiving other health services.
However, VA generally doesn’t pay for expenses incurred in a non-VA facility unless it’s been preauthorized. Yet it doesn’t mean that going to a VA facility prevents Medicare from covering the expenses, either.
Sometimes VA will authorize care in a non-VA facility, but not all costs will be covered. If any remaining expenses are covered under Medicare, it can pay for the rest.
Medicare Part A covers hospital expenses, while Part B covers medical expenses. Because the VA pays for a majority of medical costs, Part B isn’t always necessary, but it is still recommended when there is a chance that services could be provided in a non-VA facility.
Advantages of Enrolling in Medicare While Receiving VA Benefits
The following are some of the advantages of enrolling in Medicare, even when a disabled person is covered under VA:
- federal funding is not guaranteed to last forever;
- enrollment in Medicare after age 65 incurs a penalty; and
- coverage expands when covered under both programs, which could eliminate out-of-pocket costs; and
Enrollment in VA healthcare coverage is prioritized according to income and medical conditions (which means possibly not qualifying). If a veteran is enrolled in a lower-priority group, Medicare may be a helpful supplement. These groups range from Priority Group 1 to Priority Group 8, with those in the first group receiving priority care over those in the eighth.
Limited VA government benefits may require special criteria when it comes to eligibility. This includes (but is not limited to) hearing aids, dental care, ambulance services and home healthcare. Medicare, on the other hand, generally covers home health services and ambulance services. It’s important to know ahead of time what types of services and medical care are covered by either Medicare or VA benefits.
Comparing Advantages of Using Medicare or VA Benefits
One advantage of using VA disability benefits is that mileage reimbursement may be available when traveling for treatment of a service-connected condition. Medicare doesn’t reimburse for travel costs.
Another advantage is that veterans may be entitled to receive special modes of transportation, such as ambulances or wheelchair vans. This is based on the vet’s medical needs.
Raleigh Veterans’ Disability Attorney Help
When there are questions or concerns regarding coverage or eligibility for government benefits through the VA, it may be necessary to seek legal advice. If benefits have been denied, Raleigh veterans’ disability attorney at Brent Adams & Associates can help. A lawyer can answer questions regarding your rights to Medicare when receiving VA benefits.
VA Disability Benefits: Does my military record qualify me?
VA disability benefits may be available for those whose military record qualifies them. This is mostly based on the premise that the disability is service-related. However, there may be other requirements for veterans’ disability that also need to be met.
Impact of Military Record on VA Disability Benefits
A vet’s military record is just one component of eligibility determinants for disability benefits. These monthly payments could be available to any person who has a record of active military service and was released or discharged for any reason other than dishonorable.
Evidence that proves the individual is a veteran will be required. Documentation may include the original military service record or a certified copy issued by the military service. In certain circumstances, a service representative or attorney may certify a copy of the document or a copy of a copy.
The document must include information such as the character, time and length of service. Without this pertinent documentation, the only other way to validate eligibility is for the VA to contact the appropriate branch of services.
The length of service impacts some VA benefits. It could prevent a vet from qualifying for certain benefit, but VA disability benefits do not have any minimum active duty requirements.
Other Requirements for VA Disability Benefits
In addition to a military record establishing that an individual qualifies as a veteran, there are other requirements that must be met. The disability must be connected to the veteran’s military service, for instance.
Illnesses or injuries that are directly caused by military service or are pre-existing conditions that were made worse by military service will generally qualify. The monthly disability benefit amount will depend on the severity of the condition.
Payments can range anywhere between $127 to over $3,000. This is dependent on the disability rating that is assigned. The lowest that can be given is 10 percent and the highest is 100 percent. Ratings in between are given in 10 percent increments (20 percent, 30 percent, etc).
Sometimes additional payments are available for disabled vets who have dependent spouses and children. In order to qualify however, the veteran must receive a minimum disability rating of 30 percent.
Additionally, severe disabilities may qualify for more money. Examples include the loss of an arm or leg and blindness.
There may be travel reimbursement available as well. This is generally available to anyone with a 30 percent or higher disability rating. Whether its public transportation or mileage driven in one’s own vehicle, travel must be related to receiving treatment for a service-connected illness or injury.
Process for Obtaining VA Disability Benefits
Veterans in Dunn or other parts of the state or country must submit an application (VA Form 21-526) to receive benefits. This can be done online or in a local VA office. Evidence will be required to show the type of illness or injury. Medical records from a physician and/or hospital should be submitted along with the application.
Meanwhile, if a veteran has dependents and is seeking additional payment as a result, a marriage certificate and/or birth certificates must be submitted. Having the proper documentation is important, and submitting the application correctly is also critical in order to receive VA disability benefits.
Can I collect VA benefits and SSI benefits?
VA benefits could be collected in addition to SSI benefits concurrently, depending on whether eligibility requirements are met. Qualifications for veterans and Social Security benefits like SSI are different.
Qualifying for VA Benefits
Veterans with service-related disabilities stemming from an illness or injury may be entitled to monthly benefits. These are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and are completely separate from Social Security benefits.
The amount varies and depends on the rating given for the disability and the number of the veteran’s dependents. Sometimes higher amounts are given to those with especially severe injuries, such as the loss of a limb or those who have a seriously disabled spouse.
Those who receive a disability rating of 10 percent are entitled to $127 in monthly benefits. And those with a 20 percent rating receive $251 in monthly benefits. Once a disability rating hits 30 percent or higher, the amount will vary, depending on marital status and whether the veteran has children.
With VA benefits, travel reimbursement may be available. This includes public transportation (such as a bus or taxi) and mileage for driving. There are several qualifications, one being the vet has a disability rating of at least 30 percent.
You can apply for veterans’ benefits online or by filling out VA Form 21-526. You will need to include medical evidence and dependency records.
Qualifying for SSI Benefits
While VA benefits are made available by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Supplemental Security Income benefits are provided by Social Security Administration (SSA). These benefits are based on a vet’s financial need. Those who are disabled, blind or 65 years old and older may qualify if there are limited financial resources and income.
If you are disabled and wish to receive SSI, the definition of disability is different than under VA. While a rating is assigned for benefits from the VA, with Social Security it is based on other factors.
For instance, your mental or physical condition must have already lasted or have an expectancy to last at least a year, or it must be expected to result in death. It must also be a condition that causes significant limitations.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a beneficiary is unable to work. You can receive SSI benefits and still earn a living. However, income must be less than the allowable limit.
While benefits from the VA and SSA require different applications, service members who are disabled on active duty may expedite processing of an SSA application. This may apply to wounded service members who are disabled on active duty on or after October 1, 2001.
Contacting Social Security Lawyers in Raleigh
VA and SSI benefits fall under separate programs with different eligibility requirements. If you were denied benefits or you need assistance applying, contact a lawyer in Raleigh at Brent Adams & Associates. We can evaluate your financial situation, the status of your disability and other relevant factors to determine if you can receive SSI and/or VA benefits.
I'm a disabled veteran. Can I get Social Security benefits?
Our disability lawyers in Raleigh help individuals determine if as a disabled veteran, they qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits. Veterans comprise about 35% of the Social Security beneficiary population, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What many veterans don’t realize is that in addition to receiving veterans disability benefits, they may also be entitled to Social Security disability benefits. However, instead of going through the Veterans Administration system, they will go through the SSA system to obtain benefits.
Veterans can apply in person or online. Decisions can take several months or even longer to receive. It’s vital that all evidence and information necessary is collected and ready for submission. Once the application has been received, a disability examiner will evaluate it. The applicant may be asked to provide additional information or documentation.
Eventually a decision will be made, which might be a denial, so take heart. Our veterans disability lawyers are familiar with this situation and are here to review your application and see if you need to appeal. It can take a while to get a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) scheduled. However, at any time during this entire process, if you let SSA know that your disability is connected to your time of service, it might move through the system faster.
If it is approved on the first time though, you will receive a letter indicating the amount of benefits you are entitled to receive and when they begin.
Despite qualifying for Social Security benefits, veterans might find themselves having to fight for disability payments. But you don’t have to engage in this fight alone. Try consulting an attorney at 1-800-849-5931 or 1-910-892-8177 - or complete our online disability case evaluation request.
Can I get veterans' disability for a pre-existing condition in Fayetteville?
Questions about your veterans' disability qualifications? Our veterans’ disability attorneys in Fayetteville, Raleigh, an Dunn can explain how pre-existing conditions may impact your case. The short answer is no, you cannot receive veterans’ disability benefits for a pre-existing condition. However, there may be an exception to this.
The only way you may be entitled to veterans’ disability benefits is if your pre-existing condition was worsened during your time in military service. This can be challenging to prove, so legal assistance in identifying and gathering valuable evidence is often beneficial for such cases.
As an example, lt’s say you had a back injury that occurred before you enlisted in the military. You can’t receive veterans’ disability benefits for this injury. However, if the injury was aggravated by an event connected to your service duties, this could qualify you for benefits. An example would be engaging in combat that resulted in your back becoming further injured. You will need to have clear evidence that shows your back injury was worsened because of the service-related event. One way this may be accomplished is through medical records, such as X-rays.
If you can obtain copies of X-rays taken of your back when you were initially injured, this will help. But then you will also need X-rays that show the state of your back injury after the service-related event. Your disability attorney may guide you in collecting the proper evidence necessary to prove your claim.
Although this can make for a complicated case, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to prove. To learn more about the impact a pre-existing condition can have on your ability to obtain veterans’ disability benefits, contact a North Carolina veterans’ disability attorney at Brent Adams & Associates - 800-849-5931 or 910-892-8177 - or complete our case evaluation request. Our consultations are free.
How can I connect my PTSD to my military service for veterans' disability compensation?
If you have developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and it is related to your military service, you might qualify for veterans’ disability compensation. To qualify you may be required to demonstrate that an event threatened to cause serious injury or even death and led to severe stress. If you actually suffered an injury, you may also qualify. Contact a North Carolina veterans’ disability attorney at our Dunn or Fayetteville offices to discuss your case.
The second thing you will need to establish is that you have been diagnosed with PTSD. Medical records must not only prove your diagnosis but explain how severe the impairment is.
Arguing your case will require confirmation from an approved psychologist or psychiatrist who works with veterans. It must be shown that the stressor was enough to cause PTSD.
PTSD is a serious mental condition that has been experienced amongst many veterans, particularly those who have served in wars or gone through numerous deployments. Because service-related injuries and diseases qualify for benefits, you could receive compensation for your condition.
The best way to learn if you may qualify is to consult with an attorney who has experience handling veterans’ disability claims. An attorney can also help collect evidence you will need to prove your disability.
Find a North Carolina Veterans’ Disability Attorney
PTSD can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. There are a number of traumatic circumstances you may have experienced which could qualify you to receive veterans’ disability compensation.
The team of disability lawyers at Brent Adams & Associates serves North Carolina residents from offices in Dunn, Fayetteville, Raleigh and other locations throughout the Triangle. If you have questions or concerns regarding your right to veterans’ benefits, schedule a free case evaluation. Contact us today – 1-800-849-5931 or 910-892-8177.
I'm a veteran in Fayetteville, North Carolina. How are disability ratings determined for veterans?
The Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) provides certain Veterans' benefits in the form of disability compensation for those who served and were injured during active duty or by VA healthcare. When an injury or disability is evaluated, the claimant will receive a disability “rating” for Veterans according to the Schedule for Rating Disabilities, a listing of medical conditions that organizes various injuries and disabilities by body system.
The ratings help the VA determine how much compensation the individual should receive for their particular condition. One way that this is done is by evaluating how the disability has impacted earning ability. This involves a medical examination, usually conducted by a VA physician. In order to ensure that the claimant's legal rights are protected and they receive a fair evaluation, it's best to have a Veterans' disability attorney advocating on the individual's behalf.
Understanding the Disability Rating for Veterans
Reports from medical exams are used to craft a disability rating for Veterans, represented as a percentage from 0% to 100%. The more severe the disability, the higher the disability rating. The higher the rating, the more funds the individual will be able to collect as disability compensation.
In the event that a Veteran has more than one service-related disability, each disability receives its own separate rating, and then the VA will administer a combined disability rating using a specific chart.
Veterans may receive additional compensation for the loss of certain extremities or organs, including the loss of sight, hearing, a reproductive organ, and speech.
Help from a Veterans' Disability Attorney in Fayetteville
A North Carolina Veterans' disability attorney at Brent Adams & Associates can answer your questions about the disability rating process and prepare you for the necessary examination. Veterans' benefits consultations are free and appointments are recommended. Speak with an attorney today at 877-273-6823.