Archive for Jan Dils Veteran Disability – Page 2

VA Math Made Simple

Recently I attempted to watch the film Interstellar. Without hesitation I can declare that this film is the second most confusing thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life. Though the film contains a lot of blog_photos_084_w1024discussion of physics, time travel, parallel universes-and even the incredibly far fetching idea that Matthew McConaughey could be an astronaut-the movie makes perfect sense compared to VA math. VA math is simply the most confusing and obtuse concept ever imagined. In my mind 40 plus 40 should equal 80. Now, that may be a controversial stance on math, but it is fact. If I have 40 Skittles, and I add 40 more Skittles to the 40 I already have, I now have 80 Skittles. In the mind of the VA though, you might only have 60 Skittles.

Ok, it’s time for me to stop being such a smart aleck and get to the point. VA math does not really make sense to many people. The use of a rating scale is what causes weird percentages. So, unless you have the scale in front of you, or you have a great memory, it makes it difficult for quick calculations. I happen to work with individuals who are savants. They can estimate the monthly amount without hesitation. I however spent all my time in college avoiding math courses and instead focused on communications. That unfortunately does not help me much when it comes to calculating VA disability percentages. So, when I need to calculate percentages I am left with two options; I can ask someone, or I can go hide in the supply closet and hope the problem goes away.

But wait; don’t we live in the 21st century? I can reserve a rental car, order a pizza, and even share my thoughts on the latest Bradley Cooper film from my phone without making a single call. Surely there is someone out there who developed an application for VA Math. Good news…someone felt our pain and developed a tool for the rest of us.

One of the areas I have the most difficulty with is attempting to figure out how much a Veteran will receive at a given percentage level. For instance, a Veteran filing alone will receive a different amount at 30% than a Veteran filing with a spouse and a child dependent. For a single Vet, the current amount paid for 30% is $400.93. However, at 30%, a Vet with a child and a spouse will receive $483.75. There is obviously a big difference between those two amounts. Before I would have had to look up the rating, then added the amount in for a spouse, and then a child, and that would have given me the proper amount. Instead, what I am doing now is much simpler. All I do is pull out my Samsung Galaxy Note 3, (Because adults use Android products) open up my application, and it will calculate these ratings for me.

In the past year we have seen some great electronic resources that can help deal with the everyday headaches of VA disability, especially VA math. The first item I wish to discuss is the phone app I mentioned earlier. It’s actually quite helpful. The app is actually referred to as VetCalc and is available on both Apple devices and Android phones. That covers most people. For the 3.6% of people who use Blackberry or Windows operating systems on their phone, you’re out of luck.

VetCalc was developed by Andrew McKeown. The application is actually quite simple to use. It asks the user to enter in their service connected percentage, and then it will ask if you’re single or married, and finally it will ask how many children and dependent parents you have. After all of this information is entered, it will calculate your monthly income amount. It’s actually quite handy. There are a couple of drawbacks though. For one, it does cost $0.99. Granted, that’s not some large amount of money, but most Veterans won’t have to use it very often. I quickly downloaded it because it can help me with my job and I can use it often. It also does not calculate your percentage. You have to know that ahead of time.

Rating calculatorWhat if you are trying to figure out if your overall combined rating is correct? Well, put your abacus away because we have found a great free online VA Disability Calculator. The MicroHealth website has this tool available for everyone now. All you have to do is put in your disabilities, the ratings, and then it will calculate your combined rating. The greatest thing about this feature is that it takes all of the guess work out of the calculations. For instance, if you enter in a rating for PTSD at 30%, Left Knee at 20% and Tinnitus at 10%, it shows that your overall combined rating is 50%.

The calculator even considers rounding. On the VA Scale, 30% plus 20% equals 44%. As you already know, the VA only rates Veterans in multiples of 10. When your combined rating equals a number that is not a multiple of 10, the VA will either round up or down. A number ending in a 4 or lower is rounded down, whereas a number ending in 5 or above is rounded up. In other words, if your combined rating is 33%, the VA will round down to 30%. However, if your combined rating is 37%, the VA will round up to 40%. The calculator shows both the cumulative number, and your overall rating. It simply rounds up or down depending upon the number.

Overall, VA math is very confusing process. However, with tools like the ones mentioned in this blog, VA math does not have to be so difficult. If you’re a Veteran who is struggling to get the benefits you deserve, give me a call today for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’re not able to talk at this time, fill out this form, and we will call you at a more convenient time.

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6 Things to look for when selecting a VA Disability Attorney

Have you ever tried to pick out a contractor? If you search for a contractor in your area via a Google search you will likely have dozens of results. The same holds true if you look the old fashioned way in the Yellow selecting_atty_w1024pages. It can often be hard to select someone based solely on an internet listing or an ad in the phone book. This holds true for selecting a VA Disability Attorney too. So, you may be asking yourself the following question: “How can I select a Veteran’s Disability Attorney?” Just follow these 6 tips and your search will be a lot more successful.

  1. Do they practice VA Law? This may seem silly, but when you are searching for a VA Disability Attorney you will likely get a lot of results for attorneys who only handle Social Security Disability, or another type of law. However, they have their website set up to grab individuals who are searching for VA Disability too because they may be able to get social security benefits if they are qualified for VA Disability. As an individual who works in social media, I know this practice to be true. Further, any individual who practices VA Law must be accredited by the Office of General Council. It’s important to note that this accreditation also applies to non-attorneys who may represent you from a service organization. If you feel suspicious about the person that may be working on your claim, ask them about their accreditation.
  2. Be cautious of the “Jack of All Trades.” The reason being that these firms are likely a master of none. Granted, it’s possible that a big law firm can handle your VA claim easily. However, pay close attention to the type of laws they practice. It’s possible that they may list VA Disability as one of their specialties but actually have very few clients or experience in that field. Jan Dils Attorneys at Law focuses solely on Social Security Disability and VA Disability. Because of the complexity of these two areas of law, and the fact that we want to provide the best possible customer service to our clients, we only practice social security and VA disability. It’s kind of like having heart surgery. You wouldn’t want to go to a doctor who spends most of his time as working as a dermatologist. Instead, you’d rather have a cardiologist perform your open heart surgery.
  3. Experience. While I don’t personally believe that this is the only factor to look at in searching for a VA Attorney, it is something to consider. How long has the firm been in business? How long has the attorney been practicing VA Law? Are they accredited?
  4. Reviews and Online Presence. You can easily find reviews of an attorney online if they have a good online presence. This will include Google, Facebook, and so on. Reviews are most often written by individuals who have used the service prior. These reviews can be both positive and negative. Honestly, more people pay attention to reviews over any other type of information regarding a law firm. While also looking at a firm through online resources, look at what they publish on their Facebook or Twitter profile. This will give you a good idea of the type of people who will represent you.
  5. Fees. Pay close attention to the fee agreement. What services are you being charged for? Are they upfront with fees regarding medical records, travel, and other items that go beyond representation?
  6. Trust your instincts. If you call a firm, research them online, or ask around, you are going to get an impression about who they are. Perhaps when you call the individuals you speak to seem ill-informed. Or maybe they have mostly bad reviews on Google. Regardless, your impression of the organization is likely backed up by what your “get feeling.” If the attorney you found seems like they won’t properly represent you, then you need to continue to search for the person who will best represent you.

Read More: 7 Misconceptions Veterans Have When Hiring an Attorney

It’s not easy to find the right attorney for a VA Disability Claim. Remember these key factors and your search will be a lot easier. If you want to learn more about hiring an attorney, or if you’d like to learn about what the Attorneys at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law can do for you, give me a call now. Our consultation is free and we are always up front with our clients. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather talk to someone at a later time, fill out this form, and we’ll call you at a more convenient time.

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4 Reasons We Won’t Take a Veteran’s Disability Claim

Personally I think making a New Year’s resolution is as pretentious as buying a pumpkin spice latte in October. I don’t make real ones, and I think blasting about it on Facebook, or for the very lonely, Google Plus, is just a cry for attention. When I set out for change I simply do it. Earlier this year, not so early to be considered a resolution of any sort, I decided to be very upfront with people in my life. Instead of letting something get under my skin and smolder for a while, I’ll simply let someone know they are irritating me. On the other end, if I think you are awesome, I’ll let it be known. I brought this practice into my personal life because being passive aggressive got me nowhere. It’s actually something I have practiced in my professional life since joining this firm.

I've always believed in being upfront with Veterans about taking them on as clients. Our firm as a whole is very clear with any potential new VA client on the subject of becoming a client. VA Disability is not a quick or easy process. We make it very clear that we don’t sign up everyone who walks in the door. Some might read that and think we are up on our high horse; that we believe getting represented by us is the greatest thing in the world. This is anything but the truth. I look at it this way. I’d rather a car dealer tell me up front that I can’t get financing for the car I want than waiting 8-12 months. We believe our Veterans deserve to be told upfront if we can help. Here are 4 reasons we won’t take you on as a client.

  1. Bad Discharges. For the most part, individuals with an honorable, general, and sometimes even an Other Than Honorable Discharge, can qualify for benefits. However, if you inform me that you have a dishonorable discharge you won’t be represented by our firm. Simply, individuals with a dishonorable discharge are not entitled to VA disability. What I will do is inform you that you need to look into getting your discharge upgraded. I will even explain how to do that and point you in the right direction.
  2. No disabilities. This may seem like I am attempting to make comedy, but I am serious. Some individuals want to pursue VA Disability even if they have no injuries from their time in service and don’t qualify for presumptive conditions. (Granted, different rules apply for pension.) Simply put, we can’t pursue VA Disability if you don’t meet the most basic requirements.
  3. No treatment. This is actually one of the most common reasons we turn down a Veteran. If you were discharged in 1987, and haven’t sought any treatment for that back injury for 20 plus years, it’s going to be a bit of a stretch to get that service connected through the VA. More often we see examples like a veteran worked as a coal miner during those 20 years, or had a severe car wreck that injured his back.
  4. Disabilities not related to your time in service. This kind of goes a long with the reasons I mentioned in number two, but it is different. We often see examples in which a Veteran served his or her time, was honorably discharged, and then was injured down the line. An example of this may be that he or she was injured after service while on the job, in a car wreck, or even in their everyday life. While these are disabilities you can pursue through different legal avenues, they won’t get service connected.

There are other reasons we won’t take on a VA Disability claim, but these are the most common. Honestly we will give most individuals a chance if we believe there is at least a possibility of them getting service connection. We have several different review processes in place to evaluate a claim. We say yes a lot more often than we say no. However, we won’t take a case any further if we know we can’t get a Veteran service connected. We don’t believe in wasting a Veteran’s time. We know other attorneys and service organizations will throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. That practice is not very efficient.

Overall, evaluating VA cases is not an easy task. I have been doing it for nearly four years now. While I am not as timid as I once was, it is still not easy to tell a Veteran we can’t help them.

If you would like to speak to me personally about becoming a VA client, give me a call via our toll free number: 1-877-526-3457. However, if this is not a convenient time, fill out this form and one of our reps will call you at a time that works better for you. 

As far as being upfront with people in my personal life, it's worked out pretty well. I have saved a lot of time by not over thinking things, and I have even had compliments from other for being so direct. 

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More than just raising money for Veterans

In my line of work I often catch things that I may have missed if I were simply a paralegal or other legal professional. While the world of social media isn't quite as glamorous as something like ice road trucking, it can lead to some great experiences. Late last fall I noticed that a local race track I follow on Facebook had open spots for fundraising nights in the upcoming season. Without hesitation I contacted the track to request approval for our Walk4Vets.  They quickly got back to me stating that they had a few spots left and that they were happy to have a Veterans charity on hand.

Last Friday night our date finally came up. We were informed by the track that we were allowed to have up to six individuals participate in the 50/50 drawing. This group included myself, two employees of ours named Michelle, one of our receptionists named Amy, and two National Guard Veterans. Steve is Amy’s husband and the other Veteran, Shawn, is the advisor to the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Veterans Corps. This group happens to be the benefactor of our Walk4Vets this year.

The experience at the track was incredible. Located in the small town of Ripley, West Virginia, I-77 Raceway Park was very accommodating. With weather conditions that were perfect for racing, the stands were quite full. Having a couple of Vets on hand made the experience even greater. Steve, Amy’s husband, was in uniform. It was really great to see small kids interact with him and the adults thank him for his service. He and Shawn both had a blast. Shawn had never been to any such event prior. Watching him take everything in was quite entertaining. In the pits earlier in the day they actually had the chance to get a photo with another Veteran who had a car in the field. They were drawn to his car because it had several military decals on it, including a POW/MIA tribute.

In total, we raised $560.00 for our Walk4Vets in September. It was a highly successful night by way of the money raised, but the experience will be what stays with me. From watching the spectators interact with our Vets, to having people thank us, and the entire Jan Dils crew for what we do, and countless other moments, the night will stay with me for a while. Getting to work with Veterans is truly one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. I love getting to do these types of events because, for just a brief moment, others get to experience what I do every day.

Special Thanks to the fine folks at I-77 Raceway Park for allowing us to do the 50/50 drawing last Friday. If you’re ever in the area take in a race at their facility. You can see their entire schedule here.

If you would like to know more about the Walk4Vets, click here. Register now and save $5.

For more of my commentary, and to keep up to date with all of my blog posts, follow me on Twitter.  

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5 Helpful Tips for any Veteran Seeking VA Disability Compensation.

I won’t lie to you; Veterans Disability is not a walk in the park. It can be a tough and long process that will leave you emotionally frustrated and physically tired. However, I have been working in VA Disability for close to three years now, and I have learned a few things during my time here. These are 5 tips to help you get through your VA Disability Claim.

  1. Be patient. You are probably thinking that it’s not a fair that I suggest patience as the number one tip. You might be thinking that you shouldn’t have to wait for you claim to process. I would agree with that, but I am a realist, and I know there is nothing you or I can do to speed up your claim. I wish I could get every Veteran their benefits within a week and that you all would be satisfied with the result, but it simply won’t happen. I have spoken with hundreds of Veterans through my work with the firm, and the ones with a positive attitude have an easier time with their claims then those who have a negative attitude. If you are out of work, have bills piling up, and are suffering from a disability, this may be tough to do. Remember that you are not alone in your frustration with this process.
  2. Educate yourself about the process. If you are reading this blog there is a good chance you are interested in learning more about the VA Disability process. Continue reading this blog and check other sources too, such as the VA website, to keep up to date with the changes in the VA. Further, learning more about the process as a whole will likely make you feel more at ease about what’s going on. Most people would not go into a complicated surgery, or buy a house, without doing research first on what to expect. In this modern time there is more information available than any time in history.
  3. Find others like yourself. I have a lot of friends who are Veterans. One thing they all enjoy doing is talking to other Veterans. If you are already talking to each other, why not discuss your VA Disability Claim too. Perhaps your buddy has a resource that will benefit you, or the name of a great treatment facility. For Veterans suffering from PTSD, depression, or any other type of mental disability, seeking help from your peers can make a world of difference. A lot of VA facilities offer group counseling, and several of our clients claim it helps.
  4. Seek treatment. Regardless if you have a physical disability, or a mental disability, seeking treatment will be beneficial for you and your case. When it comes to your physical health, it pretty much goes without saying that seeking treatment will be helpful. Physical therapy, medication, and other forms of treatment will likely help you feel better. When it comes to your claim, seeking treatment can lead to your it getting approved. The VA needs to know that your disability is affecting you now. Seeking treatment will show that it is bothering you. Not seeking treatment will make them assume that you are fine.
  5. Hire an attorney. Of course the blog writer who works for an attorney would suggest hiring one. Honestly, I would not suggest doing this if I did not believe in what we do here. No, we can’t speed up your claim, but we can do so much more for Veterans. For instance, have you ever tried to read an SSOC? The first time I saw one I nearly went into convulsions because of the enormous amount of legal language. On top of that, the SSOC can be several pages long.  An attorney, like Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, will review all of your paperwork, submit responses to the VA, research your case, represent you at hearings, and so much more. I mentioned in the introduction that VA Disability is stressful; why not let someone else handle the bulk of that stress for you.


I hope these 5 tips will help you with your VA Disability claim. If you would like to know more about what we do, give me a call today for a free consultation. Our toll free number is: 1-877-526-3457. If you would rather I contact you, fill out this form now.


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How will I know when I am approved?

Our blog has been discussing the end process of Social Security, but something we have not mentioned is how the SSA lets you know you are approved. Well, like most things with Social Security, it involves a piece of paper.

You will receive an award letter, also called a Notice of Award. This is a letter from the SSA that answers most of the questions you will have, such as when you should expect payment, how much your payments will be, and information about any back pay you may receive.

Unlike most paperwork you receive from the SSA, this is one that you will look forward to receiving. One benefit to having an attorney like us is that we get copies of the Notice of Award (and all other paperwork too.) We review everything in house to make sure it is accurate. Further, when you have questions about the paperwork you receive, you can speak to someone who knows the process quite well. Also, when an action is required, like submitting evidence, or requesting a hearing, we take care of that too. Individuals working without an attorney will often let a deadline pass by mistake. Our firm has safeguards in place to make sure that does not happen.

If you aren’t at this level yet, and need someone to help you get here, give us a call today for a free consultation. Or request for us to give you a call by clicking here.

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Jon Corra Bio

Jon has been with Jan Dils Attorneys at Law for over two years. In his current role, Jon is a VA Leads Specialist, and a Social Media Specialist. In December 2011, Jon Received his Masters Degree in corporate Communication from West Virginia University. Jon also has an RBA in Criminal Justice and Communications from West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

In his spare time, Jon is an avid Hockey fan. He loves watching the Pittsburgh Penguins play, and tries to make it to games in person as much as possible. In addition to hockey, Jon also enjoys mountain bike riding, watching documentaries, and spending time with friends.

When describing his employment with the firm, Jon Stated the Following: “I was drawn to Jan Dils Attorneys at Law because of their work with Veterans. I admire those who serve our country so much, and really enjoy interacting with Veterans. I never imagined that while working in this firm, I would get to know so many unique individuals.”

Jon Corra+

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Do I meet the requirements to receive health care at the VA?

In our firm we don’t always get questions about Disability claims for Veterans. Sometimes we receive general questions about VA health care. One of the questions we are often asked is “Why am I not being treated at the VA for my problems?” It could be any number of issues, but the main reason why most Veterans aren’t treated at the VA is that they do not meet the minimum requirements.

According to the VA, the basic eligibility is as follows: A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable may qualify for VA healthcare benefits. Reservist and National Guard members may also qualify for VA healthcare benefits if they were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a Federal order and completed the full period for which they called or ordered to active duty.

To put this simply, if you received a dishonorable discharge, you do not qualify for VA Healthcare benefits. Also, if you served in the Reserves, or National Guard, but weren’t activated, you won’t qualify for health care benefits.

It is also important to know that there are also minimum duty requirements that are associated with VA healthcare eligibility. Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or who entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans discharged for hardship, early out, or a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

As with most programs, you must first apply in order to be treated. To find out more about applying, visit the VA Website.

Seeking medical treatment plays a big part in VA Disability Claims. If you would like to know more about Disability Benefits, give our office a call today, 1-877-526-3457.

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Why Did My Friend Get Social Security Benefits Already?

One day a very frantic gentleman called me on the phone screaming, “My friend already got his benefits and why I haven’t gotten mine?  Heck, he’s not even disabled and I’ve been waiting over a year for my benefits!”  I figured the best way for me to calm him down was to explain how the process works and why (though it may seem unfair) some will get approved more quickly than others.

I first explained that getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits was based on a few things like whether a person can or cannot continue in their line of work, if they can be retrained to do something else, their age and education, in addition to their medical records.  All these factors are combined but the most important would be the person’s medical records.

After he calmed down some, I further explained that each person who applies for benefits is different and therefore the factors that get each one approved will be different.  Perhaps his friend was very vocal when he went to the doctor, therefore having all his complaints about his illness or condition well documented.  Maybe he has worked the same job for 20 years and is 55 years old, making it hard for him to be retrained to do something else.  What if his friend has a chronic or terminal illness that requires long term care and there is no cure?

Only tipping the iceberg on the reasons why his friend may have received benefits, I also wanted him to know that his friend may have applied for benefits before him and could have been waiting two years or more.  In rare instances, claimants get approved without having to go to a hearing.  Again, this does not happen often and is mainly based on the medical evidence that has already been submitted to Social Security. 

Every claim for Social Security Disability benefits is different.  Let the office of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law find the right way for you to get the benefits you deserve.  Call us today at 1-877-526-3457. Or, tell us about your case now. 

(Special Thanks to guest blogger Elizebeth Dues, Intake Specialist-Jan Dils Attorneys at Law)


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Tell Us About Your Claim

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