If you have questions about Veteran Disability benefits, claims, or appeals, the attorneys at Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our veteran disability benefits lawyers in New York.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.7 million veterans, or 25 percent of the total, had a service-connected disability as of August 2019. When you look specifically at Gulf War-era II veterans – those who served from September 2001 to the present – that number goes up to 41 percent.
Given everything veterans do for our country, many assume that benefits are given for disabled vets. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
If a service-related disability keeps you from working or hurts your earning potential, you could be entitled to benefits. At Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C., we have a dedicated legal team that will fight to protect your rights. We’ll work efficiently to resolve your claim so you start receiving payments to supplement your lost or reduced wages.
It has been our honor to represent disabled veterans for 30 years. We leverage our knowledge and experience to help veterans present strong claims to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We know the evidence necessary to secure the disability benefits, medical benefits, and other veteran benefits you are due.
The types of veteran services we provide representation in are:
- Initial applications filed pro bono
- Appeals and representation to the V.A. and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals
- Federal Appeals to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
- Pension benefits for wartime veterans disabled on a non-service connected basis
- Survivors’ pensions for wartime veterans
- Spousal, dependent, and caregiver supplemental benefits
- Survivor benefits for service-connected deaths
- Unemployability claims for total disability due to individual unemployability
- Reopening of claims based on SUE-clear and unmistakable error
- Special monthly compensation
- Aid and attendance and housebound allowance
- Discharge upgrades
You can depend on us to provide the support and guidance you need throughout the process. Call Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. at 516-496-0400 for a free consultation with one of our New York veteran disability attorneys.
The Basics of Veteran Disability Insurance
If you got hurt or sick during your active military service, you might qualify for benefits through the Veteran’s Disability program. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides tax-free compensation for service-related disabilities.
You may be eligible for benefits if you developed a new condition or exacerbated a preexisting one. You could apply for benefits even if you didn’t sustain your disabling injury or illness during combat. Compensation is available to those who got hurt during training or performing tasks on the base.
Common disabilities covered through the Veteran’s Disability program include:
- Chronic conditions such as arthritis, Lupus, bronchiectasis, and ulcers
- Undiagnosed illnesses from serving in the Gulf War
- Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychiatric disabilities (combat-related or not)
- Heatstroke, frostbite, and other conditions related to exposure
- Diabetes, ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, or prostate cancer
- Other disabilities resulting from exposure to Agent Orange or other military herbicides
- Kidney cancer, liver cancer, or bladder cancer
- Other disabilities from exposure to contaminated water at Camp LeJeune
The monetary compensation you receive will depend on your disability rating, which is a percentage between 0 and 100. This rating indicates the severity of a disability and how it affects someone’s ability to return to work and complete routine tasks. The percentage will depend on the type of condition and its severity.
How to File a Veteran Disability Claim
There are various methods for filing a claim.
- Online: You can file your claim online by answering a few basic questions, which will take you to the form you’ll need to complete.
- In-person: Print out an application and bring it to your local VA office.
- Mail: Download and print Form 21-526EZ and mail it to the Department of Veterans Affairs Claims Intake Center at P.O. Box 4444, Janesville, WI 53547-4444
If you need help, call 516-496-0400. You can hire an experienced New York veteran disability benefits lawyer from Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C.
When you apply, you must provide form DD-124, evidence of your disability, and how it relates to your service. You can present this evidence to the V.A. in the form of the following:
- VA medical center records
- Private medical records
- Statements from friends, family, and other people who can confirm the nature of your disability and/or when and how the disability occurred
If you are unable to obtain the records yourself, you authorize the VA to request them on your behalf.
Benefit Payment Amounts You’re Entitled To
The Veterans Administration will provide payments based on your disability rating. As of December 1, 2019, monthly benefits are as follows:
- 10% disability: $142.29 per month
- 20% disability: $281.27 per month
- 30% disability: $435.69 per month
- 40% disability: $627.61 per month
- 50% disability: $893.43 per month
- 60% disability: $1,131.68 per month
- 70% disability: $1,426.17 per month
- 80% disability: $1,657.80 per month
- 90% disability: $1,862.96 per month
- 100% disability: $3,106.04
You can receive higher benefit coverage if your disability rating exceeds 20% and you have a spouse, children, or dependents. You might also qualify for V.A. Aid and Attendance or Housebound Benefits if you meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Your illness keeps you in bed all the time or most of the day;
- You need someone to help you with routine tasks, such as dressing and bathing;
- You have limited eyesight of 5/200 or less, even if you’re wearing contacts or glasses
- Your concentric contraction of the visual field is less than or equal to 5 degrees
- Your disability contributed to a loss of mental or physical abilities that requires you to live in a nursing home.
You can apply for these benefits by filling out Form 21-2680 and mailing it to a VA Pension Management Center in New York.
What Should I Do if My Veteran Disability Claim is Denied?
There are three decision review options if you’re not satisfied with the results of your Veteran Disability claim. You can file for a Supplemental Claim, Higher-Level Review, or Board Appeal. A skilled veteran disability lawyer can advise you on the best options and increase your chances of a successful outcome.
If you choose this appeal process, you need to provide new and relevant evidence for the V.A. to review. New and relevant evidence is anything pertaining to your disability that you didn’t submit with your original claim.
You can fill out Form 20-0995 and mail it to the Department of Veterans Affairs or bring it to your local V.A. office. If they deny your claim again, you can move forward with a Higher-Level Review or appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
Suppose your Supplemental Claim is denied, and you believe the V.A. has made a mistake. In that case, you can request that a senior reviewer investigate the matter in the form of a Higher-Level Review. You must complete Form 20-0996 and list the issues you disagree with and want to be reviewed. You can also request a phone call with the reviewer to discuss why you believe denying the claim was a mistake.
During this process, you’re not allowed to submit new evidence. They will review everything you originally submitted to determine if they agree with the decision or believe there was an error.
You can appeal a supplemental claim decision or a higher-level review decision. You can do so by filling out Form 10182 and choosing between one of the options below. A Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C., will review your case and make a final decision.
- Request a direct review: The Judge will look over the evidence you previously submitted to determine whether you should get benefits. If you choose this option, you can’t submit new evidence
- Submit more evidence: You can send the Judge additional relevant evidence to review.
- Request a hearing: You can request a hearing with the Judge and decide if there’s new evidence you would like to present. Hearings are available in person, through videoconference at a V.A. office, or by virtual hearing from your home.
If your veteran disability claim is denied, Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. can help you at any point in the appeal process.
Benefits Available to Surviving Family Members of Deceased Veterans
Are you the spouse, dependent child, or dependent parent of a veteran who suffered a fatal disability? If so, you might be eligible for benefit payments. Your loved one must have died:
- During inactive duty training or active duty;
- Due to a disability associated with military service; or
- While receiving total disability benefits for at least ten years before passing away, for at least one year before death as a former POW, or since being discharged and at least five years before death.
Available benefits include:
- Costs associated with burial
- Education program refund
- Civil service preference
- Education and training
- Death pension
- Life insurance proceeds
- Home loan guarantee
- Commissary and exchange privileges
- Dependence and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
- Parents’ DIC
To apply, complete Form 21-534EZ and mail it to the New York pension management center or submit it in person at a regional VA office.
What about Non-Service Connected Pension benefits?
Should I Hire a New York Veteran Disability Benefits Lawyer?
Yes. Proving that a current disability was caused by or aggravated by an in-service event can be a difficult proposition. A lawyer familiar with V.A. requirements can draw connections between your disability and service.
You might think it will be more cost-effective to ask a Veterans Service Officer for assistance when filing your claim. Although they’re not allowed to charge a fee, they typically don’t have as much time to dedicate to every claim. You won’t receive the personalized one-on-one attention that Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. can provide. Additionally, we have considerable resources and a legal team that knows the ins out outs of veteran disability claims.
When you hire us, we can handle every step of the process. We’ll determine which benefit option is right for you. Then, we’ll assist you with all the necessary forms and obtain crucial evidence that proves you have a disabling medical condition. We can dedicate our time and attention to your case – you will always be our priority. We’ll always make ourselves available to answer your questions and provide guidance from start to finish.
Contact a Veteran Disability Benefits Lawyer in New York
If you’re a veteran who can’t work due to a disabling condition, schedule a free consultation with one of our veteran disability benefits lawyers. We’ll protect your rights and fight hard to recover the maximum benefit payments you deserve. You can depend on us to help you through this traumatic experience and move forward with your life.