For decades, millions of brave veterans have put their lives on the line to serve their country and fellow Americans. No matter where they served, whether it was during the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, or another conflict, after returning home, many veterans have needed governmental support. As of 2019, of the nearly 370,000 veterans living in Alabama, 110,941 of them were receiving disability benefits.
There are numerous federal and state programs available offering our veterans the support and assistance they need and deserve after their service. However, the unfortunate reality is that many veterans are unaware of the benefits available to them or find themselves fighting to receive the support they have earned.
Those who have offered their lives in service to their country should not need to worry about meeting their needs later in life. At Norris Injury Lawyers, we care about our veterans. For over 40 years, our lawyers have served countless Alabamans, including many who have served.
Let the veterans’ benefits lawyers at our firm help you and your family. Call us today at (800) 477-7510 to schedule a free consultation.
Types of Veterans’ Benefits Available
Through the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are a variety of benefits available to US veterans. It is important to know what benefits are available to you and how you can apply for them. A lawyer who is familiar and experienced with veteran law can help guide you through the process and work hard to ensure you receive all the veterans’ benefits you deserve.
Certain veterans that are over the age of 65 or disabled are eligible to receive a monthly pension, depending on their yearly family income and net worth. In order to be eligible for the Veterans Pension program, he or she must have served for at least one day during wartime.
Family net worth takes into account assets and income. For 2022, the maximum net worth to be eligible for the VA pension is $138,489. For veterans who qualify to receive the monthly pension, the MAPR (Maximum Annual Pension Rate) they can receive depends on their spouse’s status, dependents, and disabilities.
All enrolled Veterans are covered under the VA healthcare plan, which provides coverage for a variety of preventative, primary, and specialty medical care and treatment. The VA categorizes veterans into priority groups from 1 to 8, and your priority group can affect the amount of your copay, and the amount of time it takes to receive medical care.
The VA healthcare benefits cover expenses related to:
- Primary care provider checkups
- Specialist appointments
- Health exams
- Surgical care
- Medical treatments
- Kidney dialysis
- Urgent care
- Mental health services
- Assisted living
- Home health care
Death and burial
Family members of a deceased veteran may be able to receive funeral and burial allowances. These allowances can be awarded to the veteran’s surviving spouse, legal partner, child, parent, or executor of the estate. In order to receive this allowance, the veteran must have died as a result of service-connected disabilities, at a VA facility, or when eligible for a VA pension.
Burial benefits can also help service members, veterans, and family members be buried in a VA national cemetery and provide memorial items to honor the service of a deceased veteran.
Veterans who have suffered an injury or illness while serving in the military may be eligible for monthly VA disability payments. This includes physical and mental health conditions that were caused or aggravated by military service.
Some illnesses and injuries that are recognized by the VA include:
- Chronic back pain
- Lung disease
- Hearing loss
- Scar tissue
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
The amount of disability compensation a veteran receives depends on his or her level of disability and the number of dependents. For example, in 2022, the amount of disability compensation ranges from $152.64 to $3,952.09. Additional compensation may be available if the veteran has multiple dependent children or his or her spouse also receives Aid and Attendance benefits.
Contact one of the veterans’ benefits lawyers with Norris Injury Lawyers today to learn more about the VA disability compensation you may be able to receive.
Dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC)
Surviving family members of a service member who died in service, or veterans who died from a service-connected disability, may be able to receive an additional monetary benefit.
A spouse may be able to receive DIC benefits if he or she lived with the service member until death and was married for at least 1 year, was married within 15 years of the veteran’s discharge from the military, or had a child with the service member. A spouse may still be eligible for these benefits if he or she is remarried.
Unmarried surviving children who are under the age of 18 (or under the age of 23 if a student) may also be able to receive DIC benefits. Parents may also be able to receive DIC benefits, provided their income is within the qualifying amount.
Special monthly compensation (SMC)
An additional amount of compensation is available for some veterans who have certain serious disabilities. The rates change yearly and are assigned different disability ratings.
Types of disabilities covered by SMC include:
- Amputation or loss of use of limb or extremities
- Blindness or loss of one or both eyes
- Being permanently bedridden
- Needing help with daily tasks
Different amounts of compensation are offered depending on the disability rating. For example, the rating will be affected by the type of disability, how many limbs or extremities are disabled, the extent of blindness, and whether the veteran has more than one disability.
Appeal Process for Disability Benefits
Filing veterans’ disability claims can be a time-consuming process. According to the VA, the average time for a decision to be made for VA disability benefits in February 2022 was 162.4 days. If you disagree with the decision, there are three appeals options available to you as of February 2019: supplemental claim, higher-level review, and Board Appeal.
A free consultation with a veterans’ disability attorney at our law firm can help you better understand the appeal options available to you.
A supplemental claim is available if you have new, relevant evidence to add to your claim. There is no time limit for filing a supplemental claim, but the VA recommends filing within 1 year from the date of the decision letter.
Once your Birmingham lawyer identifies and gathers the necessary evidence to support your claim, a reviewer will determine whether the new evidence submitted changes the VA’s initial decision. This appeals process can take between 4 and 5 months.
Another appeals option is a higher-level review. With this review, you cannot submit any new evidence to support your claim. Rather, a senior reviewer will review the initial claim information to determine whether the decision was made in error. A higher-level review can be requested after an initial claim decision or a supplemental claim decision. There is a 1-year time limit to submit a request for a higher-level review after a decision letter.
This option gives you or your lawyer the opportunity to speak with the reviewer to explain why you think the decision should be changed. It is important to work with a qualified and knowledgeable veteran benefits lawyer who is both persuasive and skilled in negotiating.
A Board Appeal offers the possibility of appealing to a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, where an expert judge will review the case. Board Appeals can be requested after an initial claim, supplemental claim, or higher-level review decision, but cannot be done twice from the same decision.
Your Board Appeal options are as follows:
- Direct review: Does not provide a hearing, and no new evidence can be submitted. This option takes approximately 1 year
- Submit more evidence: Allows additional evidence to be submitted within 90 days of the Board Appeal request and takes longer than 1 year
- Request a hearing: Provides a hearing where additional evidence can be submitted at the hearing or within 90 days afterward; this option takes longer than 1 year
How the Team at Norris Injury Lawyers Protects Our Veterans
The veterans’ benefits lawyers at our firm know how important VA disability benefits and others are to your and your family. We also understand that building a strong claim requires solid evidence and detailed records. When you work with Norris Injury Lawyers, you can be confident that your attorney will fight for your right to the right compensation – whether it is an initial claim or appeal.
Receiving veterans’ benefits does not need to be a painful, stressful experience. Let the team at our law firm work to get you the help you need. With our No Fee Guarantee®, you don’t owe us anything unless we get you results.
We would love to hear your story. Reach out today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a veterans disability attorney at our law firm serving Birmingham, AL. The Norris Injury Lawyers team is available 24/7 at (800) 477-7510, or you can fill out our online form to contact us.