Do I Qualify for Veterans Disability Benefits? | South Portland, ME

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Do I Qualify for Veterans Disability Benefits?

Published on May 31st, 2019

If you have served in our nation’s armed forces, you deserve compensation for any disabilities that resulted from your service. Unfortunately, the path to obtaining compensation is not always easy, and many deserving veterans and their dependents file requests for compensation that are partly or entirely denied by the VA. The veterans’ disability lawyers at Jackson & MacNichol can help in those cases. We will advocate effectively on your behalf and explore every possible avenue to get you justice by obtaining the disability compensation you deserve.

How Does the VA Determine my Eligibility for Disability Compensation?

The first things that the Veterans Administration (VA) will look at are the circumstances in which you served and your discharge status. To be eligible for disability compensation, your disability must stem from service on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. Additionally, you must ordinarily have received an honorable or general discharge from the armed forces.

If you received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharge, you will usually be barred from receiving many VA benefits, including disability payments. In some cases, however, you may be able to apply for a discharge upgrade, which could make you eligible for your benefits.

In addition to determining whether your service and discharge status make you eligible to receive benefits, VA medical personnel will look at the illness or injury which is the basis of your claim for  disability benefits. Depending on your age and the nature of your condition, if your condition is found to be service connected, they will assign you a disability percentage rating for your service-related condition, which will then be used to calculate the amount of your disability payments.

A condition that qualifies you for disability payments may be very serious or mildly incapacitating. It could be either physical or mental. In terms of eligibility for benefits the reasons why your current disability is related to service are often more important than the nature of the condition. It is essential that you can show that there is some connection between your medical condition and your military service.

How Can a Veterans Disability Compensation Lawyer Help?

The VA has three classifications for disability claims, which are based on the circumstances under which your illness or injury developed:

  • Inservice disability claims–For conditions that developed during your military service
  • Preservice disability claims–For conditions that began before your enlistment, but were worsened by your service
  • Postservice disability claim–For medical issues that appeared after you ended your military service but result from your service

In each type of claim, the key is showing how your military service either caused your medical condition or made it worse. For this, you and your veterans’ disability lawyer will need to collect medical information as well as other evidence that details the harmful conditions from your service. For example, if you are making a postservice disability claim because of cancer, you will need to show that you were exposed to harmful chemicals during your military career that could cause this type of cancer.  Some examples include exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam era or exposure to contaminated water at the Marine base at Camp Lejeune.

In some cases, the VA will presume that a condition is related to your service. If a doctor has diagnosed a medical condition that is apparently connected to a condition of your service, you may obtain benefits for a presumed disability. This is often a possibility if a chronic medical condition develops within one year of your discharge, your illness was obviously caused by contact with toxic chemicals, or you spent time as a prisoner of war.

At Jackson & MacNichol, we are proud to help our veterans get access to the benefits they deserve. Whether you’re a veteran or a veteran’s dependent, we are ready to assist you with the disability claims process. To learn more about how you can successfully appeal a complete or partial denial of disability compensation, call us today at 800-524-3339 for a free consultation.

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