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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.
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.
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)
A gentleman called me on the phone sounding really unsure about whether he should apply for Social Security benefits. He served in the Gulf War and had a bomb explode right beside him while he was performing a field safety check. The hospital was able to remove most of the shrapnel from his arms, legs, and face. However, the pain in his legs is so bad that sitting and standing is almost unbearable. I explained that he had nothing to be ashamed of and many people who have worked their whole lives apply for disability benefits. Still sounding unsure, he felt that since he had served his country and endured the injuries of war, there was not a logical reason why he could not hold down a job. Besides, his friends had told him, it could be months, or years, before he even got disability benefits and he could not have his family suffer financially for that long.
Again, I told him he had nothing to be ashamed of if he wanted to apply for benefits. He had provided a great service to his country. As such, if he was not able to work that was what disability was for. As a GulfWar Veteran, Social Security would expedite his claim. Under Wounded Warriors, any military Veteran that served and was injured after October 1, 2001, regardless of where they were stationed, is entitled to expedited processing of their disability claim. It is very important that the claimant states somewhere on the application, or during the initial process, that they served during this period. I also explained that expedited treatment did not guarantee him an approval but it would definitely speed up the processing of his claim.
Let the office of Jan Dils, Attorneys At Law help you avoid the delays of the Social Security process. Whether you are unsure of whether or not you should apply, or want to try to get your claim the expedited treatment it deserves under Wounded Warriors, call us at 1-877-526-3457. Or use our online contact form.
When filing an initial application with the VA Regional Office (VARO), you have to wait for them to make a decision on the individual claims that you are filing. Once the VARO makes a decision they will send it to you by mail. This is known as a rating decision. If a rating decision is unfavorable, and you disagree with it, you would need to file an appeal. The appeal is called a Notice of Disagreement or a NOD. After receiving the rating decision, you have one year from the date on that decision to file the NOD. If the NOD is not filed in a timely manner, unfortunately, your claim could close and you might have to start the process all over again.
A notice of disagreement, or any appeal, is very important if you do not want to start the process over again. Once you file the appeal you will have more time to gather evidence to support your claim. At Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, we understand how confusing the process may be. We have a team of professionals who are compassionate about our Veterans and are eager to help you. If you are interested in legal representation, you may contact our office at 1-877-526-3457. We are more than willing to help you with any questions that you may have. or use our online contact form.
After filing a notice of disagreement you may be asking yourself, “What about a hearing? “
You may ask for a DRO hearing after filing the notice of disagreement at your local regional office. DRO stands for decision review officer. Often, some regional offices will schedule a DRO video hearing at a VA Medical Center closest to you. This is where the decision review officer will be in the regional office and you and your representative will be at the Medical Center.
A DRO hearing is a get together with a decision review officer where you can talk about your claim(s) to state your side of the story. A DRO hearing is nothing like you see inthe movies. There is no jury. Normally, it is just you, the DRO, and your representative, if you have one. Along with a representative, you may bring a witness if you wish. Also, this is the time to present any new evidence. Your representative, and possibly the decision review officer, will ask you questions to present recognition and insight to your distinctive situation. The VA will not reimburse mileage for hearings.
As someone who works with Veterans on a daily basis, I see a lot of similar injuries in those who served. One example of this would be injuries to the shoulder and the arm. These injuries can occur in combat and in non-combat duties. Getting service connected for a shoulder, arm, and leg, etc. can be quite difficult. One thing many Veterans do not realize is that range of motion plays a huge part in the evaluation of their disability.
Range of motion is the distance and direction of movement of a joint. With this definition in mind, we can determine that a limited range of motion means a specific joint or body part cannot move through its normal range of motion.
There are so many factors that have to be taken into account when being rated. Examples include Malunion (meaning, the healing of a fracture with incorrect anatomical alignment) and Nonunion (meaning, failure of a broken bone to heal).
The scapula and humerus move as one piece. An unfavorable ankylosis with abduction limited to 25 degrees from side can rate 40% for nondominant arm and 50% for dominant arm, for example. A clavicle or scapula impairment of dislocation is rated 0% to 40%. A shoulder condition can affect the humerus, clavicle, range of motion for the arm and recurrent dislocation (Fibrous union– this is what forms tendons and ligaments).
These are just some of the examples; it can be very complex when working on a shoulder injury/condition. Keep in mind all joints (shoulder, elbow, knee, and back) are based on range of motion, not the amount of pain it causes or the amount of medication needed for relief. At Jan Dils Attorneys at Law we have the knowledge and resources to help you navigate the VA Disability Process. Call our office today for a free phone consultation: 1-877-526-3457. Or use our online contact form.
What exactly is Pension, you might ask? VA Pension is a cash benefit paid to a wartime Veteran or to their surviving spouses who have limited income and net worth. Ask yourself these 6 questions and if you meet all of the requirements, then you are eligible: Are you a veteran who served at least 90 days? Did you serve at least 1 day in wartime? Was your discharge other than dishonorable? What is your income and net worth? How old are you? If you are under 65, are you permanently and totally disabled?
Income is deducted dollar for dollar from the maximum amount of benefits a Veteran may be paid. The income from all family members is countable. This will include earnings, social security, disability, and/or retirement benefits, interest and dividends, and net income if self-employed. The income limit varies between each Veteran. If he/she is a Veteran and is without a spouse or a child, the limit is $11,830. If the veteran has one dependent, the income limit will be $15,493. If housebound and without a dependant, the limit is $14,457, and with one dependent the limit is $18,120. If the veteran is alone and happens to need aid and attendance, the income limit will be $19,736, but if they have one dependant the limit will be $23,396.
A Veteran must fall under one of these dates of wartimes and must have served at least 1 day active duty. World War I (April 5, 1917-September 12, 1918), World War II (December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946), Korean Conflict (June 27, 1950- January 31, 1955), Vietnam Era (February 28, 1961-May 7, 1975), Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990-Present).
The pension is calculated by adding up all of the household’s income. It can be extremely difficult to figure out and grasp the concept of pension and also can be very confusing at times. 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. Or Tell us about your case.