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Procrastination and Your VA Disability Claim

According to some researchers, procrastination has more than quadrupled in the last 30 years. Society places a stigma on those who procrastinate, with many viewing it as a lifestyle choice. Some may even label you as lazy for putting off tasks. However, there is additional research showing that procrastination can be based in fear rather than apathy. In fact, fear of failure is one of the leading reasons why people procrastinate. When it comes to VA disability, however, procrastination can cause your claim to close, resulting in the loss of your original backpay date. While it is bad to let your claim close, it’s not the end of the world. So, what happens if your claim closes?

To be clear, it’s always best to keep your claim open and make every effort to refrain from letting your disability claim close. There are many different timelines in the VA. At some stages, you have a year to file an appeal. In other situations, you only have 30 or 60 days to file an appeal. It’s important for Veterans to realize that reopening a claim does not reestablish your initial back pay date. Your new back pay date commences once your case is reopened.

However, if it does indeed close, it’s not the end of the road. Veterans can actually reopen their claims once they’ve closed. The process, unlike many things withMarine VA disability, is somewhat simple. There are a few steps that you have to take in order to properly reopen your claim. A Veteran can’t simply call the VA and say that they want to reopen their claim. Instead, you have to submit what the VA defines as new and material evidence.

Unless you have a legal background, you’re probably not familiar with that term. It may seem obvious, but new evidence is something that you haven’t submitted to the VA before. Do not resubmit medical records, statements, etc. that you’ve submitted before. For instance, a medical evaluation pertaining to your knee condition that you used when you originally filed your claim wouldn’t be considered new.

Material evidence is proof or testimony that has a significant relationship with the facts or issues of a case or inquiry and can affect its conclusion or outcome. In other words, your evidence has to pertain to the claim that you are reopening. For example, if your original claim was for your knees, the evidence you use to reopen your claim with must pertain to your knees. You can’t reopen your claim for your knees with a medical evaluation for a mental disability.

How do you obtain new and material evidence? Don’t let the phrase throw you off or intimidate you. It’s simple. New evidence can be new medical records, a new statement from a witness, often referred to as a “buddy statement,” or “statements in support of the claim,” or even new treatment like rehabilitation or therapy.  Work with your primary care doctor to obtain this new evidence. In some situations, your doctor may be able to refer you to a specialist.

Once again, it’s best to keep the claim open. While the deadlines can be confusing, there are options for Veterans. Many Vets turn to the team at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law. The attorneys and staff can help you keep your case on track and prevent your claims from closing. If you’d like to learn more about the services available, call toll-free 1-877-526-3457. If you are unable to talk now, fill out this form so a representative can reach out to you at a more convenient time.

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Why some law firms won’t help Veterans with their initial application for disability benefits

I take a lot of pride in the work I do, especially working with Veterans. In fact, I’d feel safe saying that I really enjoy it. However, I am not perfect.  It’s hard for me to admit, but yes, I am flawed. I find that I get a little worked up when I see people being disrespectful towards Veterans. In fact, about 10 years ago my actions led to a regional fast food chain removing a disrespectful radio advertisement about Vets from the airwaves. This 089character flaw of mine comes up from time to time at work when I encounter another law firm or organization doing things poorly. Our goal at this firm is to help Veterans. Granted, we are a business and we need to make money to be successful, but we really enjoy working with Veterans. We want to help them. That is why you might see that we do things a little different than others.

Recently a young Vet who had been discharged a few years ago called for a free consultation. He had a great case for VA Disability. It was so solid that even Steve Harvey couldn’t mess it up. We talked in detail about his time in service. I then answered his questions and set him up for an appointment. Before we hung up he thanked me for my kindness and knowledge. He then told me that his previous encounters with two other law firms had not been as pleasant. He said that they were rude to him and would not help him at all. I recalled thinking that was odd with such a good case, so I asked if he knew why. He said they told him they would not help him because he hadn’t filed for benefits yet. Then it clicked. The other firm would not get paid if he was granted off of his initial filing. While I can’t say without a doubt this is why these other firms didn’t take this Veteran, I’d say there is a good chance that this is the reason why.  

FeeAgreementsnipThis is pretty common knowledge for anyone who works on VA disability claims. Essentially, an attorney can’t collect fees on a grant from the initial application. We are only entitled to fees once an appeal (Notice of Disagreement)  has been filed. In other words, if you come to an attorney without filing your initial application for benefits, they take your case on, and you are granted without an appeal, that firm will not receive compensation for it, and thus will have worked for free. We do realize that, and we still help Vets with their initial application for benefits.

A lot of people will jump to conclusions when they hear this statement. They say that we will try to get a Vet denied on purpose so that we will get our 20 percent guaranteed. That is nowhere near the truth. Let me instead give you a little behind the scenes information about how the VA does things. Almost everyone, no matter how great your case is, gets denied or approved for a small amount from the initial application. Even Captain America would get denied the first time around because of how the VA is set up. So, we try hard to get a Veteran approved off of his or her initial application for benefits. However, we know that most of these Veterans are not going to get everything they deserve after the first filing. This will also help us be better prepared if the Veteran gets denied. It generally takes 8-12 months for a Veteran to receive a decision. So, if we wait until the Veteran gets denied to help them out, we will lose nearly a year of time that we could have been working on their case. We won’t get paid if you don’t get service connected, so we have a vested interest in getting you a favorable decision. You can read more about our fee agreement here.

It is also important to note that we will only pursue a claim if we believe a Veteran can get service connected for it. So, if you call us wanting to file for an ankle injury, and there is not enough evidence to support a service connected ankle injury, we won’t help you file that claim. We like being up front with Vets and we don’t think it is right to give anyone false hopes regarding a VA Disability Claim.

So, regardless if you have filed a claim for VA Disability in the past or not, give me a call today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. Or, you can use our chat feature or fill out this form to schedule a time for a call.

 

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Meet our newest VA Disability Attorney, Lindsey Bailey

The Jan Dils team is proud to announce that Lindsey Bailey is our newest VA Disability Attorney. Well, new isn’t really the proper word to describe Lindsey. She is quick to point out that this is not her first rodeo.Lindsay Attorney Profile Lindsey has been employed with our firm for several years. She represented a lot of social security clients prior to transferring over to the VA. She also informed me that she simply didn’t just start doing VA cases one day. She actually studied for a long time with lead VA attorney Heather Vanhoose. Heather and Lindsey worked well together and Lindsey really developed a passion for working with Veterans. Lindsey is a graduate of the WVU School of Law. Her father and brother are both social security attorneys as well. Recently I sat down with Lindsey to find out why she transitioned to the VA side of the firm. She had some prior knowledge of the VA disability process, but seeing things from our side really opened her eyes. She became fascinated with the law and knew she wanted to get involved.

linds Bar eSelecting Lindsey as the next attorney to represent Veterans at our firm did not occur by picking a name out of a hat. It happened by design. Lead VA Attorney Heather Vanhoose spoke about Lindsey’s passion and her compassion for Veterans. She said the fact that she possesses both of these skills makes her the ideal candidate to represent Veterans. Firm Owner Jan Dils also spoke of Lindsey’s passion for helping Veterans. She went on to say that Lindsey really picked up on the law quickly and that she was happy to have her helping our Veterans.

On a personal note, I have known Lindsey for a couple of years. In the past year I have been able to spend some time with her and other members of the staff outside of the office. The first thing I noticed about her was her distinct voice. It resonates with joy and a unique tone most can’t duplicate. If I had to think of one word to describe her it would simply be genuine. She has a great heart and is extremely intelligent. Our Veterans are fortunate to have Lindsey join the VA legal team along with Heather Vanhoose and Angie Lowe.

If you would like to know more about VA Disability, or the services we provide, be sure to give us a call today for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so that we may call you at a later time.

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