Disabled Veterans are entitled to retroactive disability back pay when the date they are granted benefits comes after the effective date of their claims. The effective date is either the date you filed for disability benefits or the date that you became entitled to compensation, whichever is later.
If you believe that you are entitled to disability benefits and were given an incorrect rating or an incorrect effective date, reducing your VA disability back pay, you should consult with an experienced Veterans’ disability lawyer to give yourself the best chance of recovering as much compensation as possible. Berry Law serves Veterans across the United States and in foreign countries.
The amount of back pay you are owed will depend on numerous factors. First, the effective date of your claim will be critical in determining your amount of back pay.
The other major factor will be your disability rating. The rating you were receiving may not have been the rating you should have been receiving.
It is important for Veterans to understand that the effective date is not the date of an injury or another event during service. The effective date is the later of the date the VA receives your claim or the date you became entitled to compensation. Sometimes, the effective date can be as early as the day following separation if the VA receives your claim within one year of the day you left active service.
The effective date and disability rating each play specific roles in determining the amount of back pay you are owed. Your effective date will determine the day that disability benefits should have first been paid to you. This means that if your effective date is January 1st, 2015, the VA is liable to give you a payment that is equal to the amount you would have received if you began receiving your monthly compensation on the aforementioned date. On the other hand, the disability rating also plays a vital role because it determines the amount of the monthly payments you are entitled to. By increasing your rating, you are increasing the size of the retroactive payment you will receive.
The VA revises disability compensation rates every year according to the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) established by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Veterans who receive back pay will be paid based on the rates respective to the years being paid. The amount of back pay a Veteran can receive is not subject to any limit.
The VA could commit a number of errors in determining the amount of back pay that you are owed. If the agency assigns the wrong effective date, it could result in you possibly receiving less compensation than you are entitled to. You will want a lawyer to ensure that your claim is handled correctly, and you are paid everything that you deserve.
Some claims may also be unadjudicated claims, which means a claim is still open because of an oversight by the VA. A claim could be unadjudicated if the VA failed to resolve your claim, and back pay could be owed for the several years that the unadjudicated claim remained open.
Other factors that could complicate back pay include major changes to a Veteran’s life dating back to their effective date. For example, a Veteran may have had an increase in their number of dependents if they had children. Similarly, a child who is no longer a dependent could also possibly reduce a Veteran’s benefits.
How quickly you receive your back pay can also vary depending on certain factors. Specifically, the VA will award you your back pay once your claim has been approved. However, this does not mean that you will lose your potential back pay award for appealing a claim. If you appeal the VA’s decision, you will preserve you
If you believe that you were not assigned the correct disability rating, then your case will likely involve an appeal that will also delay benefits being awarded. The VA has been dealing with a backlog on standard claims for several years that has resulted in significant delays in claims processing times.
In some cases, the VA can issue back pay very quickly, within a matter of months of claims being approved. In other cases, there can be unexpected and sometimes unexplained delays. An attorney will be able to work to make sure that you receive your back pay as soon as possible.
Do you think that you could be owed disability back pay from the VA? Make sure that you contact Berry Law without delay.
Our team was helping Veterans fight for their disability compensation on a pro bono basis before the laws changed. We understand how important they can be to a Veteran because we are a team of Veterans.
Founder John S. Berry, Sr. served as a Field Force Military Captain for the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG Corps) in the Vietnam War and was a Bronze Star recipient.
CEO and attorney John S. Berry, Jr. was deployed to Bosnia for Operation Joint Forge as a platoon leader and served as a Company Commander in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Our firm features employees from all 4 branches of the military, and we are committed to helping Veterans facing legal battles. Contact our team today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.