Birmingham Veterans Disability Lawyers

Gay Soldiers Seeking VA Disability Benefits Petition for Upgrades In Discharge Status

by Staff Blogger | September 29th, 2015

In order for a veteran to receive disability benefits from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, he or she must have received an honorable discharge from service. But until four years ago, thousands of service members were kicked out of the military because of their sexual preference, which prevents them from receiving benefits. The Birmingham veterans disability lawyers at Norris Injury Lawyers explain that now with the repeal of our nation’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, many veterans who were less than honorably discharged are seeking to have their military statuses updated.

Between 1941-2011, as many as 100,000 soldiers were less-than-honorably discharged from military service due to their sexuality. Many of those soldiers endure public and private humiliation detailed in an article from CNBC News.

Current laws allow for an upgrade in discharge status for soldiers discharged after being deemed homosexual. However, the veteran must prove there were no “aggravating” circumstances surrounding the discharge. Lawmakers are currently considering a bill called the Restore Honor to Service Members Act, which would grant upgrades to anyone who was discharged from military service because of their sexuality, regardless of the circumstances.

At Norris Injury Lawyers, we have seen the impact that veterans disability benefits can have on the lives of former soldiers. Our Alabama personal injury lawyers are hopeful to see changes to the law that help deserving veterans get the benefits they need.

Camp Lejeune Veterans May Now Qualify for Disability Benefits

by Staff Blogger | August 18th, 2015

For more than 30 years, the water at a United States Marine Corps base in North Carolina was contaminated with toxic chemicals. Exposure to these chemicals resulted in many soldiers and veterans developing serious health conditions.

The Birmingham veterans’ disability lawyers at Norris Injury Lawyers explain that over the span of three decades, many of those  affected by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune have moved all across the country. But now, these individuals may soon qualify for the veterans’ disability benefits they have struggled to receive.

The Huffington Post reports that the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) has announced the agency will begin reforming the way benefits are distributed to service members harmed by water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

Under the previous rules, veterans filing claims related to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune had to have their case examined by special experts. As a result, only one in 20 claims received approval. Now, claims will no longer have to go through this step, and 15 different illnesses can be linked to the water at the base.

At Norris Injury Lawyers, our Birmingham personal injury attorneys are hopeful these reforms can quickly put benefits into the hands of veterans who are most in need.

 

Less Than Honorable Discharges Can Affect Veterans Disability Benefits Claims

by Staff Blogger | December 17th, 2013

December 17, 2013

Veterans who suffer injuries that leave them disabled may receive benefits that give them resources for income. However, an estimated 100,000 soldiers and veterans with debilitating conditions are unable to receive benefits because of the way they were discharged from service, even when the discharge was associated with actions brought on by medical conditions.

The Birmingham Veterans Disability Lawyers with Norris Injury Lawyers explains that one of the most common conditions that can lead to less than honorable discharges in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The condition is caused by stress or injury in combat and can lead to patients suffering from anxiety and depression.

Deteriorating mental health can also cause the sufferer to commit violent outbursts or partake in drug or alcohol abuse, which can lead to a less than honorable discharge, despite being a condition caused by combat.

An article from Alabama Public Radio told the story of one veteran who was unable to obtain benefits after receiving a less than honorable discharge. He continues to struggle to make ends meet as he appeals his case and attempts to get his paperwork upgraded, which is the only way he can get his benefits reinstated.

The Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyers with Norris Injury Lawyers recognize how complex the process of receiving veterans disability benefits can be. That is why the firm suggests discussing your options with an attorney if you are a disabled veteran.

The Veterans Disability Benefits Claims Backlog Has Been Reduced

by Staff Blogger | December 3rd, 2013

December 3, 2013

With a growing number of soldiers returning from service with injuries leaving them unable to work, the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) has recorded an increased number of claims for compensation and assistance. The Birmingham Veterans Disability Lawyers with Norris Injury Lawyers point out the increase in claim volume has led to a backlog in the claims approval process. This leaves many disabled veterans with little or no income resources during a lengthy waiting period.

Recently, the VA announced in a Press Release that it had significantly reduced the size of the claims backlog. Furthermore, VA officials stated the agency was on track to eliminate the backlog by 2015.

VA officials estimate the agency has reduced the size of the backlog by 34 percent since March 2013, slashing the number of claims awaiting decisions from approximately 611,000 to 400,835. This was accomplished by focusing on processing the oldest claims first.

Claims processors worked on processing cases that had awaited a decision for more than one year. An estimated 93 percent of those cases have now been processed, with an average approval rate ranging from 65 to 70 percent.

Norris Injury Lawyers and their team of Birmingham Personal Injury Attorneys applaud the efforts being made to improve the efficiency of the disability claims process and are hopeful the actions result in better service to our veterans.