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What is a CUE in a VA Disability Claim?

By Jan Dils · December 5, 2011
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On occasion we find that an error in a VA Disability decision shows the VA failed to follow procedural directives, overlooked material facts of records, and/or failed to apply or incorrectly applied the appropriate laws or regulations. When this happens we file what is called a CUE, or a clear and unmistakable error.

A CUE is an error that is undebatableUndebatable, is the key word in the definition. Before filing a CUE, make sure you consider that at the time of the decision, everything of record and the law at that time. Also, consider whether the error made would have changed the original rating decision. Once the decision on the CUE is final, you may not file another CUE on the issue again. in that a reasonable mind can only conclude that the original decision was fatally flawed at the time it was made.

A CUE can be identified at any level of the appeals process. However, the definition of a CUE is very strict. Need help with this type of claim? Do not hesitate to call our office at 1-877-838-3726.

What is a 21-526 in a VA Disability Claim?

By Jan Dils · December 1, 2011
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If you call our office seeking legal representation for your VA Disability Claim, one of the first things we will ask is: “Have you filled out your 21-526?” Most Veterans will answer this question by saying “yes.” However, if you are new to the VA Disability Process, you will likely answer no, or not know what it means. That’s okay. This blog will explain what a 21-526 is in detail.

In order to file for VA Disability Benefits, you must fill out a 21-526. It is also called “Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension.” In other words, this your initial application to receive benefits from the VA. The form can be found on-line at the VA website. However, if you have not filed before, and are seeking legal representation, we will be more than happy to send you a copy.

When you look at the 21-526, it can seem a bit overwhelming. This is largely due to the fact that it is 12 pages long. However, many of the first pages are simply instructions. Once you get past those initial pages, the rest is just basic information about yourself, and your time in service. Also, it is important to list your disabilities on this application. A Veteran can not just file a basic claim for benefits.

Once your form is complete, submit it to the VA, or if you are a client of ours, we will review it first, and then submit it on your behalf. This is just one of the many things Jan Dils Attorneys at Law will do for our clients. If you are interested in further information about our services, check out our website, www.fight4vets.com, or give Our office a call:  1-877-526-3457 Or Tell us about your case.

 

What is New and Material Evidence in a VA Disability Claim?

By Jan Dils · November 29, 2011
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When reopening a previously denied or closed claim, a Veteran must submit what is called New and Material Evidence (NME). New and material evidence may be submitted at any time between filing a claim and when the VA renders a decision. This includes documents from medical records to statements in support of a claim. But what exactly constitutes “new” and “material”?

The VA defines “new” just as it sounds – something not previously sent to validate open claims. “Material” refers to that which demonstrates what has not been established or corresponds with previously submitted evidence in terms of substantiating a Veteran’s medical condition(s).

Many claims close due to lack of New and Material Evidence (NME). Veterans may not fulfill the requirements by submitting redundant or irrelevant evidence. That is where Jan Dils Attorneys at Law comes in. Our firm carefully reviews all records pertaining to a Veteran’s case and can reopen claims in which a timely NOD has not been filed by submitting New and Material Evidence.

If you are a Veteran, and would like help with your claim, give our office a call: 1-877-526-3457. Also, check us out online by clicking here.
 

VA Disability Compensation and Retirement Pay

By Jan Dils · November 22, 2011
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Many Veterans have questions about getting their retirement pay and getting pay for compensation, or injuries/conditions that are considered to be service-connected disabilities. We have many Veterans in our system who have served more than 20 years and have also sustained injuries while in the service, or have been diagnosed with a service-connected disability.

For a Veteran to receive military retirement pay, the Veteran must have served on active duty or in the National Guard or reserves. He or she can qualify for retirement pay based on: the length of time in the military service, usually 20 years or longer; or, having a disability, if his or her military branch of service found that the Veteran was unfit for duty.

Disability compensation is a benefit paid to a Veteran because of injuries or diseases that happened while in the military service. It is also paid to certain Veterans disabled from VA health care. These benefits are tax-free. The amount of disability compensation depends on how disabled the Veteran is considered to be. The Veteran may be paid additional amounts, in certain instances, if: he/she has very severe disabilities or loss of limbs; he/she has a spouse, children, or dependent parent(s); or if he/she has a seriously disabled spouse.

The laws regarding receiving retirement and disability compensation state that the Veteran can receive both retirement pay and disability compensation, however, for example: if a Veteran receives $1000.00 a month in retirement pay and $200.00 incompensation, $200.00 of the retirement pay may be waived and received in the form of compensation. The advantage  is that the compensation pay is not taxable income.

There is a law called “Concurrent Receipt” published 07/10/04 that means that qualified military retirees will be paid both their full military retirement pay and VA disability compensation. This law phases out the VA disability offset, which means that military retirees with 20 or more years of service and a 50% or higher rated disability will no longer have their military retirement reduced by the amount of their VA disability compensation. This program is not a VA run program, but run by the Department of Defense. If a Veteran qualifies for the Concurrent Receipt, he/she should have automatically received an increase in his/her military retirement starting in January 2004. Veterans should remember that to qualify for this, they must be a military retiree with 20 or more years of good service, or National Guard and Reserve with 20 or more good years. They also must have a VA service related disability of 50% or higher.

Understanding how the law works can be very confusing with each Veteran having different circumstances in regards to their retirement and ability to receive compensation benefits. There are many different criteria that a Veteran must meet to qualify for retirement pay, compensation pay, or for Concurrent Receipt. Our team at Jan Dils is here to help Veterans understand how and why they may be entitled to compensation and how that works with their retirement pay. We are always just a phone call away and have a wonderful, friendly staff who are ready to answer questions. If you would like answers to your questions, please call 1-877-526-3457 and we will be happy to help

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What is Veterans Disability Compensation

By Jan Dils · November 17, 2011
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Veterans Disability Compensation is a monetary benefit available to veterans who are disabled as a result of an injury, a physical illness, or a mental illness that was incurred or aggravated while on active duty. The amount of compensation is based upon the degree of disability (calculated as a percentage). For a veteran who has been evaluated to have a 30 percent or more disability, an additional amount of compensation may be made for dependents.

Veterans with certain disabilities or who served under some conditions or specific time periods may be eligible for additional special compensation (see Chapter Six for more information on this). Additionally, Veterans Disability Benefits are not considered taxable income and are not taxed by federal or state governments.

What is a DIC Claim in VA Disability?

By Jan Dils · November 17, 2011
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DIC stands for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. For a survivor to be eligible, the Veteran’s death must have resulted from one of the following causes: 1. A disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training; 2. An injury, heart attack, cardiac arrest, or stroke incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on inactive duty for training; 3. A service-connected disability or a condition directly related to a service-connected disability.

DIC may also be paid to survivors of Veterans who were totally disabled from SC conditions at the time of death, even though their SC disabilities did not cause their deaths. The survivor qualifies if the Veteran was: 1. Continuously rated totally disabled for a period of 10 years immediately preceding death; 2. Continuously rated totally disabled from the date of military discharge and for at least 5 years immediately preceding death; 3. A former POW who died after 9/30/99, and who was continuously rated totally disabled for a period of at least one year immediately preceding death.

Payments will be offset by any judicial proceedings brought on by the Veteran’s death. The Veteran’s discharge must have been under conditions other than dishonorable.

The VA Disability Process can be complicated, that is why so many Veterans turn to the legal professionals at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law. If you would like to know more about what we do, or if you would like a FREE consultation, give us a call: 1-877-526-3457, or tell us about your claim now by clicking here.

 

 

What does IU Mean in VA Disability?

By Jan Dils · November 16, 2011
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In the legal process of VA disability compensation, you may hear the term “IU”, which means Individual Unemployability. IU is a part of the VA’s disability compensation program that allows the VA to pay certain Veterans compensation at the 100% rate even though the VA has not rated their service-connected disability at the total level.

                In order to meet the criteria for IU, a Veteran must be unable to maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of his/her service-connected disabilities. Additionally, a Veteran much have: One service-connected disability ratable at 60% or more, OR two or more service-connected disabilities, at least one disability ratable at 40% or more with a combined rating of 70% or more.

                To apply, a Veteran must submit a VA Form 21-8940, Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability. Also, please note that Veterans may have to complete an employment questionnaire once a year in order for the VA to determine continued eligibility to Individual Unemployability. Understanding the criteria and completing the form can be difficult. That is why so many Veterans seek the legal help of attorneys like the ones at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law. We have the people, knowledge, and resources to help you get the benefits you deserve. For a free phone consultation, give us a call at 1-877-526-3457.

Can I Service Connect for My Teeth?

By Jan Dils · November 14, 2011
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When speaking to Veterans about Disability Benefits, there are some questions that get asked a lot, like: How long will my claim take to process? But there are some questions we don’t receive very often, like: Can I service Connect for my teeth? The answer to both of the questions, like most things when dealing with disability compensation, is not simple.

We addressed the timeline in a previous blog, but this is a great opportunity to discuss service connection for dental issues. In order to get service connection on a dental issue, you must have received some sort of trauma or were a POW.  Service connection may be established for individual teeth if injured due to trauma.  If service connected, you may receive treatment for your tooth (or teeth) but will not receive compensation benefits.  Being able to get your teeth cleaned and checked regularly at the VA is rare unless you were a Prisoner of War.  However, there are some ways to get dental assistance at the VA.

If you apply for dental care within 180 days of discharge or release and you have an honorable discharge and served 90 or more days in the Persian Gulf War, you could get one time dental care if your DD 214 certificate of discharge does not indicate that a complete dental examination and all appropriate dental treatments had been done prior to discharge.  If you have a dental condition which is clinically determined by the VA to be relatedto and aggravating a service connected condition you can get dental care to treat the oral conditions that are determined by the VA dental expert to have a direct material connection to your medical condition.  If you have a service connected compensable dental disability or condition, or are 100% service connected for any issue, or 100% individually unemployable, you can have any needed dental care.  If you are service connected and receiving 0% non-compensable for a dental condition they will only treat you for that specific service connected condition.

Like we mentioned, it’s not a simple answer, but it is possible for some Veterans to get help with dental care and some Veterans can get Service Connected for their teeth. The VA Disability Process can be complicated, that is why so many Veterans turn to the legal professionals at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law. If you would like to know more about what we do, or if you would like a FREE consultation, give us a call: 1-877-526-3457, or tell us about your claim now by clicking here.

What is an "RO" in VA Disability Compensation?

By Jan Dils · November 10, 2011
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Chances are, if you have a Disability claim pending through the VA, you have heard the letters “RO” stated at some point. What does the abbreviation “RO” stand for though? It’s actually quite simple, RO is the abbreviation for Regional Office. Sometimes it also referred to a “VARO” which simply means VA Regional Office. Both terms can be used interchangeably, and refer to the same thing.

You may then ask, what is a Regional Office for the VA? That too is quite simple. A VA Regional Office handles all of the claims for Veterans Disability. They are traditionally separate from a VA Hospital. Think of the Regional Office as an administrative office.

Every state has at least one VA Regional Office, but some states have more than one location. For instance, New York City has its own Regional Office, and the rest of the State of New York uses the Regional Office in Buffalo.

For More information, or to see which VA Regional Office is near you, click here.

If you would like help with your VA Disability claim, check out our website, or give us a call: 1-877-526-3457

Who is a Veteran?

By Jan Dils · November 10, 2011
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The VA Disability process can be quite confusing. As one goes through appeals, and decisions, it can be overwhelming at times. This can be true for the most basic of information too. For instance, are you a Veteran? Many of those who have served in military would automatically say yes. Often times this is true, but it is important to know how the VA defines the term “Veteran.”According to the VA, The term “Veteran” means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.The terms of your discharge have a lot to do with your eligibility for VA disability compensation benefits. The type of discharge one receives can have an affect on which benefits one is eligible be for through the VA.If you are interested in more information about VA Disability Compensation, or if you would like a free phone consultation, call our office at 1-877-526-3457 or tell us about your claim now.