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VA Claim Denied: Here’s What To Do Next
VA Claim Denied: What To Do Next
Did You Know That You May Be Eligible to Receive Disability Benefits From the VA?
If you are a Veteran suffering from a service-related disability, the department of Veterans affairs (VA) recognizes you as a disabled Veteran, and you may be eligible to receive significant tax-free support from the VA. The VA gives disability benefits to Veterans based on a rating from 0 to 100. This rating is given to each disabled Veteran based on the severity of a Veteran’s condition and how much their disability hinders them from working and living normally.
Any Veteran with a service-related disability can apply to receive benefits from the VA. Below are just a few of the service-related conditions, both physical and psychological, that can make you eligible to receive benefits.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
If you are a military Veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, the VA may recognize the condition as a service-related disability. The key to receiving support from the VA for your PTSD is verifying that your condition connects directly to your military service. The VA is looking for what is called a “nexus,” or a link between your PTSD symptoms and a traumatic experience from your military service. You will also need to be officially diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by a mental health professional to qualify to receive benefits from the VA. To learn more about disability benefits for PTSD, you can visit Berry Law’s information page here.
Agent Orange Exposure
The toxic herbicide Agent Orange was used to destroy enemy crops in the Vietnam war in massive quantities. Because this herbicide was used so frequently during the war, the VA assumes that you were exposed if you served in Vietnam within a certain window of time.
Agent Orange exposure has been connected to numerous degenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and several forms of cancer. You might be eligible to receive disability benefits if you have been diagnosed with one of these diseases, as the VA will presume exposure to Agent Orange if you served in certain places at certain times. To learn more about compensation for Agent Orange exposure, visit our in-depth article here.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
If you sustained a traumatic brain injury during your time in the military, you are likely still dealing with the long-term effects of your injury. TBI is an extremely serious form of brain trauma that can cause debilitating symptoms to arise, including many that can inhibit a person’s ability to work. If you sustained TBI and are a Veteran, you can receive significant tax-free benefits from the VA. To learn more about TBI and the benefits you can receive as a Veteran, visit our TBI compensation page here.
Service-Related Mental Health Issues
If you are suffering from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or any other psychological problems connected to your military service, you may be eligible to receive benefits in the eyes of the VA. These conditions are often difficult for the VA to assess, especially since mental health issues can arise based on a wide variety of factors. However, you can take some helpful steps to get the benefits you deserve if your disability claim for a mental health issue is denied.
Many Other Service-Related Conditions Can Make You Eligible to Receive Disability Benefits.
The disabilities covered above are far from the only conditions that can make you eligible to receive disability benefits from the VA. Below is a list of even more disabilities that the VA recognizes as grounds for tax-free support to Veterans. If you suffer from any of these conditions, make sure to seek out the benefits you deserve.
- Gulf War Syndrome: A term used for various symptoms that many Gulf War Veterans suffer from, Gulf War Syndrome, is recognized by the VA as a service-related disability. If you are a Gulf War vet and suffer from any symptoms that are affecting your quality of life, you can apply for disability benefits.
- Sleep disorders: Sleep apnea, insomnia, and other sleep issues plague many Veterans in the years after their service. The stats show that Veterans are four times more likely to have sleep apnea than other Americans, making the condition extremely common among men and women who served in the military. Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can have a major negative effect on your quality of life and can make you eligible to receive benefits from the VA.
- Back problems: If you are a Veteran with back pain or a long-term back injury, you may be eligible for disability benefits. Even if you did not sustain a back injury while in the military, it is still possible to make a connection between your back problems and your service if your injury got worse. When your circumstances make it tough for you to make a case to the VA that there is a connection between your disability and your military service, an experienced attorney can help.
These disabilities and many more affect thousands of U.S. Veterans. If you are suffering from any condition connected to your military service, make sure to apply to receive benefits from the VA. You may be missing out on significant support that could help you take care of yourself and your loved ones.
What if the VA Denies My Claim?
Even if you have a confirmed service-related disability, there are some circumstances where the VA will deny applications for benefits. The VA does not always rule accurately on every case, especially in some circumstances where you are dealing with a disability with more implicit symptoms.
If you are suffering from a service-related mental health issue, the VA’s ruling on your application and their subsequent rating of your condition may be especially inaccurate. If your claim is denied or you are given a lower disability rating than you deserve, there are several vital steps to take to change your outcome.
Get an Independent Medical Examination (IME)
If the VA denies your claim, you have the right to get a second opinion on your condition from a doctor and present it to the VA. This is known as an independent medical examination (IME) and involves a doctor carefully assessing your military medical records and observing your symptoms. Your doctor can then verify to the VA that they have looked carefully at your condition and ruled that you have a service-related disability.
An IME can be grounds for the VA to reevaluate your application to receive benefits. However, if the VA rejects your claim again, you can still dispute their decision by making an appeal.
Present Testimonials to the VA
The VA also recognizes “buddy statements” from trusted individuals as evidence that you have a service-related disability. If the VA has denied your claim, you can get a reevaluation by getting an independent medical examination and compiling a collection of testimonials from individuals who have witnessed the impact that your disability has had on you firsthand.
Buddy statements serve as eyewitness accounts to the VA that your disability is real and service-related. Some of the most reliable people to seek these testimonials from are the men and women that you served with. Fellow Veterans who served with you can help you verify the legitimacy of your claim by supporting your application with their own statements.
Make an Appeal With the Help of an Attorney
If the VA continues to deny your application to receive benefits or gives you a disability rating that is too low, the best move to make is to make an appeal. A VA appeal can go through multiple stages, starting at your regional VA office, then moving up to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, then sometimes even to higher courts. Navigating the appeals process on your own can be daunting, and it’s a challenge best taken on with the help of a skilled attorney.
If the VA continues to deny your application, they may be doing so on the grounds that they cannot verify the connection between your disability and your service in the military. An experienced attorney from Berry Law can help you convince the VA that the connection between your disability and your service is legitimate. We know what the VA needs to see to change their decision, and we can help you get the benefits that you deserve by giving you the assistance you need.
No Veteran should have to go to battle with the VA alone when it comes to getting the support they need. Berry Law is a team of Veterans who are committed to helping other Veterans get the resources that they need to support themselves and their families. We know the struggle, and we’re here to help you out. Contact Berry Law today for a free case evaluation.
Established in 1965 by Vietnam War veteran and attorney John Stevens Berry Sr., Berry Law Firm is a team of veterans dedicated to defending, safeguarding, and fighting to protect the rights of veterans. Over the decades, thousands of veterans from across the country and all branches of the military have trusted our firm with their cases and, more importantly, their futures.