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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. 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.
Selecting 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.
Who else likes putting things off? I know I do. In fact, to illustrate how much I procrastinate, I was intending on writing this blog two weeks ago. Full disclosure, I was in undergrad for 6 years because I did not take the proper classes the first time they were available for my major. It really held me up and created a lot more problems for me down the road. So, it’s safe to say that I know the consequences of putting things off. One area in which an individual really shouldn’t procrastinate is the area of VA Disability.
I know what you are thinking. The VA takes their sweet time when making decisions, why should I be in a hurry to get back to them? I agree, the VA is slower than a person from Ohio in the passing lane on the interstate. However, they don’t mess around when it comes to your deadlines for your decisions. If you are even one day late past the deadline your claim will close. This can mean a total loss of back pay for your claim and you will likely have to start over from the beginning. No one wants that. So here are some helpful reminders for filing your appeals in a timely manner.
1. The appeal deadlines aren’t the same for every decision. It would be awesome if every decision had a time limit of 120 days, but that is not the VA way. Every type of decision is different when it comes to response times. Here is a quick way to remember the time limit for each decision.
Proposals to sever or decrease your benefits: 30 days to appeal.
Rating Decision: One year to appeal.
DRO Decision: One year to appeal.
Statement of the Case: 60 days to appeal.
Supplemental Statement of the Case: 30 days to appeal.
BVA decision: 120 days to appeal.
2. The clock starts ticking the on the date posted on the decision. We’ve seen a lot of Veterans get confused by this before coming to our firm. A lot of people think that it starts when they receive the decision. That is not the case. I’ve heard too many stories of Vets getting their decisions weeks or months after they were sent out. So, the date on the decision is the one you go by.
3. Speaking of mail, don’t wait until the last minute to file your appeal. In fact, if you can avoid using regular mail, please do so. The reason is that if you mail your appeal in, there is no way to guarantee the VA received it. Some people will send it certified, other will submit it electronically, but we find that faxing works well because you receive a confirmation from the receiving fax machine. If the VA tries to say that they did not receive your appeal prior to the deadline, a confirmation can be used to argue the effective date.
4. Beware of multiple timelines. The easiest thing to do in VA disability is file for all of your claims at once. If you do this, you are more likely to have all of your claims decided at the same time. That is not a 100% guarantee, but it is more likely to happen. Dealing with one timeline is much simpler than dealing with several. Granted, you may have to add claims on at later times. If so, make sure you appeal every decision you want to pursue. You could possibly file an appeal for one decision thinking it covered everything, when in reality; it only covered a few of your claims.
5. Keep it simple. People often ask us why they should hire an attorney. Among all of the other services we provide, we also have the people in place to keep claims from closing. We have protocols to file appeals in a timely manner. We also have dedicated computer software that helps our case managers stay on track. Hiring an attorney can greatly reduce the stress associated with the VA process. I know it may seem like a sales pitch, but we have helped thousands of Veterans get the benefits they deserve. It gives me great joy to tell a Veteran we are helping them with their case, and then hear the relief in their voice after. No one should have to fight the VA alone.
If you would like to know more about VA Disability, or if you’d like to schedule a free consultation, give us a call today. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you can’t talk today, fill out this form, and we’ll give you a call at a later date.
I am actually still surprised sometimes about how many people read this blog each month. Thousands of people view it, click on links, and a few even call the office based on my blog posts. One particular post I wrote recently has gained a lot of traffic and generated a lot of calls. The subject for that blog was examples of non-combat PTSD. I was driven to write that post after speaking to several male Veterans who were sexually assaulted in service and were not aware that they could file for benefits. Further, after speaking with friends of mine who served in different branches of the military, I learned about other things that can occur while not deployed that can be traumatic. That post is easily the most successful writing I’ve completed this year. However, after watching a video posted to YouTube, I thought I should take a moment to clarify a few things about non-combat PTSD.
In my former post I gave four examples of non-combat stressors that I have seen a lot with new clients. Those included: military sexual trauma, physical assault, accidents, and the death of a fellow serviceman. All of these are examples we see on a regular basis and that can be quite traumatic. With that in mind, I also wanted to shed light on what may not be a good stressor for non-combat PTSD.
When it comes to non-combat PTSD a Veteran must prove their stressor. For those of you who may not be aware, a stressor is defined as: an event, experience, etc., which causes stress. In other words, a stressor is something that you experienced or witnessed that was traumatic and is now disrupting your life. Veterans who served in combat no longer have to prove their stressor. You just have to have the proper information on your DD-214 that shows where you were in combat. (And a diagnosis of PTSD.) The four examples I provided before were all examples that I gathered from actual Vets I’ve talked to over the past several years. Some were from my professional life, and others were from friends and other individuals I met outside of the office. I chose those examples because they are good stressors. However, with good there is always bad too. So, I am going to show some examples of bad non-combat stressors for PTSD.
Before we get too far along, I want to mention that in order for PTSD to get service connected, it has to be diagnosed and you should seek treatment from a medical professional. This blog is just for informational purposes to help illustrate the VA process as a whole and to provide a better understanding of how things work.
- Being homesick. Something I have heard a few times in the past few months is a stressor for being away from home. Trust me, culture shock can be intense. I recently went to Dallas for a social media conference. I could not find peperoni rolls or Coke Zero. It was very difficult. However, when it comes to VA Disability, you probably won’t get service connected for PTSD for being homesick. You likely won’t get a diagnosis for PTSD either. This is an example of a weak stressor.
- Mean Drill Instructors. I’ve never served in the military. However, when I was 11 I watched a film called “Full Metal Jacket.” I realized then that if I were to join the military, Drill Instructors in boot camp would not be very pleasant. It’s a part of the culture. It’s one of the ways in which they teach discipline etc. It’s not like dealing with Kate from Human Resources. I know I am making light of this, but there is a big difference between getting yelled at for not having your bunk made properly and getting physically assaulted in the military. Keep that in mind while reading this blog. Having a drill instructor yell at you is one thing, getting beat up by several people is completely different. That is why we ask so many questions when we screen our clients.
- Secondhand information. If REO Speedwagon’s “Take it on the Run” taught us anything, it’s that second or third hand information is not very credible. While it can be upsetting to hear that something bad occurred, unless you experienced a traumatic event first hand, you’re not likely to get service connected for non-combat PTSD.
- Guilt. There is a bond that individuals who serve in military have in which many can’t explain. It’s more than just loyalty or brotherhood. I personally find myself to be envious of relationships. With that in mind, I understand how one would feel guilty if you had to stay home while your brothers and sisters were deployed. We encounter this on a regular basis. Simply, guilt associated with not being deployed is not a strong stressor for non-combat PTSD. I have also encountered individuals experiencing anger because they wanted to be deployed, but they weren’t able to. Once again, this is not a strong stressor.
- Fear of being deployed/Fear of combat. Something I have encountered often with Veterans who served in the late 80’s and early 90’s are claims for PTSD that are a result of anxiety relating to being deployed. In these cases, these individuals were never actually deployed. That is not a good stressor for PTSD.
- Anything that can’t be verified. Overall, any non-combat PTSD stressor has to be verified. Verification takes place by way of reports in your admin records, physical treatment, buddy statements/statements in support of claim, and so on. If there are no records of this, then it will be difficult to prove an incident occurred. For instance, let’s say you claim a physical assault occurred. If the incident was not reported, if you did not seek medical treatment after, or if you don’t have statements in support of your claim from witnesses, you’re not likely to get service connected for PTSD. However, that is not always the case. When it comes to cases involving Military Sexual Trauma things are a little different on how we approach these claims. We realize that many individuals who have been sexually assaulted aren’t able to report it, and don’t have statements or medical records. In those instances we look through your records to find other evidence that may verify an assault occurred.
We aren’t the type of law firm that will take every case and hope for the best. We are very thorough. We don’t think it’s fair to Veterans if we drag a case out for a long period of time if we know we can’t get them a favorable decision. We use a lot of discretion when screening individuals claiming non-combat PTSD. However, we also won’t simply dismiss someone’s claim if they didn’t serve in combat. Some people claim that PTSD is ubiquitous now. While it is very mainstream, there is still a lot of confusion about this disability and a lot of Veterans are suffering because they don’t know where to turn or how to get help.
If you would like to know more about non-combat PTSD, or if you would like to tell me about your case, give me a call today for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. You can also fill out this form if you’d rather someone call you at a more convenient time.
I’ve spent some time this year looking at alternative forms of treatment for Veterans who are struggling with PTSD. Through my work with Vets over the past few years I’ve encountered a few trends when it comes to those individuals who are the most at risk. The main trend I see is isolation from other Veterans who have similar experiences. Whenever I am talking to a Veteran who is filing for PTSD I ask several questions. The last question I always ask is: “How often do you interact with other Veterans?” The answer is often never.
I of all people know how easy it is to lose touch with people. But, with Veterans, especially those who served in combat, there is a brotherhood that is strong and everlasting. As a civilian I often find myself envious of my friends who are Veterans because of this brotherhood. However, when you join the military you are meeting people from all across the country. You’re not likely to enter with a bunch of people from your same neighborhood. Once you’re discharged, you’re not likely to be geographically close to those who served with you.
This brings us to social media. We live in a time now in which we are more connected to those we know, and those we wish we knew. I am personally on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and I have an awesome YouTube channel. Not to mention one of the top VA Disability blogs in the country. So, we could easily say that Veterans could connect with each other on entities like Facebook, but… Facebook is toxic. I’m being blunt, but in its current form, Facebook is really not helpful for anyone wanting to get help with anything. I won’t go on and on about this, but I think it would be a little difficult for any Veteran to discuss their issues with PTSD in the same arena in which people are posting pictures of their dogs and recipes of food no one intends to make.
Not all social media is bad. Late last year I looked at how Veterans were using the service Whisper to discuss PTSD and the positive outcomes it had. One individual even sent me a message that my blog entry helped him realize he had PTSD. So social media can be used for good. But what we really need is a social media outlet geared for Veterans, by Veterans. Actually, we don’t need that. The reason; one already exists. If you’ve read this blog before then you know that I am a big supporter of a group called the Steel City Vets. Ben Keen, one of their founders, was interviewed by People magazine recently and mentioned a social media outlet called RallyPoint. He informed me that it is a social media site for Veterans and he uses it quite often. I trust Ben as he is a very motivated individual and often provides me great insight for my blogs from a Veteran’s perspective. I decided to see what I could find out.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to get past the metaphoric front door. After all, I haven’t served in the military, and this site is intended for those who are Veterans or currently serving in the Armed Forces. I was surprised though. They actually allow civilian supporters to sign up for the site too. I think it’s safe to say that I fit into that category. In just a few clicks I was able to sign up as a civilian. My first thought when accessing the main part of the site is that this is a lot like LinkedIn. It turns out that my initial thoughts were warranted because my research found that the site is intended to be like LinkedIn for Veterans. So, keen observational skills on my point. Speaking as someone who has studied social media for a long time, I actually found it to be like LinkedIn, but much more interesting. I quickly found a lot of great topics about military issues, current events, and general topics. As we were approaching Memorial Day there were a lot of great topics about remembering fellow servicemen who had been killed in action as well as discussions about the film “American Sniper,” and a lot of other personal posts.
My only annoyance with RallyPoint was that some members were trying to turn it into a Facebook clone. I saw a few instances of the things that annoy me on Facebook showing up on this site too. Examples of this are posts by individuals just trying to troll others, and other random nonsense. But you will have that with any social media site.
Overall though, this is something I’d recommend for the Veterans I speak to on a regular basis. You can search for people by branch, location, and by more specific criteria too. It’s a great way to reconnect with those you served with as well as making new friends from within the military community. Plus it appears to be a great way to make connections in the business world and to find a new job for Vets.
In my mind, the greatest aspect of a site like this is that it can help you find people you served with and possibly open a dialogue about PTSD. Most of us feel better when we know we aren’t going through a tough time alone.
If you’d like to find out more about VA Disability give us a call via our toll free number: 1-877-526-3457. If you aren’t able to talk now, be sure to fill out our contact form so that we can call you at a better time.
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 discussion 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.
What 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.
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 pages. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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Our blog strives to be the most informative Veterans disability blog available today. We have a lot of great readers and our content can't be beat. We often explore serious topics and do our best to educate our readers and clients. However, it never hurts to have a little fun. Today we are taking a break from our normal format and will have some fun with the stages of a VA claim. We hope you enjoy.
Stage One: The Initial Application. You are ready to tackle to this claim and are feeling pretty confident about what will happen.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.