Veterans Disability Lawyer Helping Veterans Obtain Disability Benefits In New York and Long Island
Under the leadership of Turley Redmond & Rosasco Junior Partner, Sergeant Janet Santeramo, our New York disability lawyers are proud to assist veterans with benefits claims. You served our country and, after putting yourself in harm’s way, you are entitled to compensation for your service-related disabilities. Your veteran disability lawyer will review your case and determine the full breadth of benefits you qualify for, including veterans, Social Security disability (SSD) and other government programs.
Put your trust in a team of disability lawyers led by a Marine who served in the Persian Gulf and participated in Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Ceasefire. Schedule a consultation with a veterans disability attorney at our firm. We have offices throughout Nassau County and Suffolk County.
What is Veterans Disability Insurance?
Veterans are entitled to compensation for injuries, illnesses and/or conditions that they sustained during active duty military service. Service-related disabilities are treated very seriously by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which provides tax-free compensation in such cases.
Veterans disability benefits cover any and all injuries, illnesses or conditions that are caused by the claimant’s active duty service in the military. But what if you already had a pre-existing condition that was simply worsened by your service? It is important to note that veterans’ disability benefits are also available to claimants whose injuries, illnesses or conditions were exacerbated by the veteran’s service.
The qualifying health issue need not have been incurred during combat. In fact, you can recover benefits for an injury, illness or condition that you sustain while cleaning the barracks or while training. Disability benefits for veterans in Long Island and throughout New York City are broad in scope; therefore, you are encouraged to speak with a knowledgeable veterans disability lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your legal rights and options.
What Qualifies for Veterans Disability Claims?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays tax-free benefits for disabilities caused by injury or disease related to military service. The amount you qualify for depends upon your percentage of disability, which is rated from 10 to 100 percent. You may file your claim for a disability that:
- Arose while you were in military service
- Arose after you retired from military service
- Had before entering the military and grew worse
- Involves a special circumstance
Our Veteran Disability Lawyers Outline Basic Eligibility Principles for Veterans Benefits
Veterans (and their surviving dependents) are entitled to submit an application and receive veterans’ disability benefits for service-related disabilities that they sustained while in active duty service or active duty training, as long as they were not subject to a dishonorable discharge. It is worth pointing out that you may still be eligible to receive benefits even if you had a pre-existing disabling condition that was exacerbated due to your military service.
The VA will presume that you have a service-related disability (and are thereby eligible to receive veterans disability benefits) if you suffer from a specific set of injuries, illnesses, and/or conditions within a year of being discharged from active service, as long as the conditions are rated at least 10 percent disabling by the VA. These conditions include: hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, and various others.
Some conditions — such as multiple sclerosis and tuberculosis, or even toxic chemical exposure — will be presumed to be linked to your service even if you develop the condition more than a year after discharge. Contact a veterans disability lawyer at our firm if you have questions about your eligibility.
How Do You Apply for Veterans Disability Benefits?
You can apply for disability benefits online using the eBenefits website, which the Veterans Administration recommends since this can be the simplest approach. You can also print out Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits or call 1-800-827-1000 to have a copy of the benefits form mailed to you.
If you have not yet been discharged from the military and know you will need to obtain disability benefits, you could use the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program in order to obtain benefits more quickly and easily.
When you apply for benefits, you’ll need to provide proof you were honorably discharged or separated from service; will need to include medical records documenting service-connected illnesses or injuries; and will need to include information about your dependents including a marriage certificate and birth certificates for your children.
How a Veterans Disability Lawyer Can Assist with the Claims Process
The VA is a large government bureaucracy. Therefore, the claims process can be cumbersome, with multiple requests for information. The actual time between submission and approval depends upon the complexity of your injuries and access to the evidence the VA needs to make a decision. Our disability attorneys in New York help to expedite the process by meticulously preparing a thorough application and tracking its progress through the VA.
In general, the claims process involves:
- Assessment of your claim by our lawyers, during which we gather supportive evidence and prepare a thorough application
- Obtaining completed Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) from medical providers to prove your medical condition, which we can handle for you
- Submitting your application to the Veterans Affairs, another task we take care of
- Review of your claim by a Veterans Service representative
- Request of additional information or evidence from you, doctors or another government department, if applicable, by the Veterans Service representative handling your claim
- Claim decision
Injuries and Illnesses Covered by Veterans Benefits
You are entitled to compensation for injuries related to your service in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps or Navy. VA benefits cover injuries and illnesses incurred or exacerbated during training or combat, including:
- Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)
- Chronic medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, arthritis and Lou Gehrig’s Disease
- Undiagnosed illness associated with service in the Gulf War
- Tropical diseases and rare infectious diseases
- Frostbite, heat stroke and other exposure-related conditions
- Prisoners of war (POWs) physical and psychological conditions
- Anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides
- Exposure to radiation
You will receive monthly monetary compensation that is based on the disability rating that you are given by the VA (i.e., 10 percent, 20 percent, etc.). However, this baseline compensation may be increased or decreased based on various other factors.
For example, compensation may be increased if you have a spouse with a severe disability. By contrast, compensation may be decreased if you are already receiving other forms of benefits, such as disability severance.
What Is a Disability Benefits Rating?
When you receive disability benefits, you are assigned a disability rating. This rating represents the percent that you are disabled. For example, you may be 10% disabled or 50% disabled. The rating goes up in increments of 10 and the more severely you are disabled, the larger the amount of benefits you should be entitled to receive.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive in Veterans Benefits?
The Veterans Administration will pay you a set amount of benefits based upon how disabled you are. However, you can be paid additional amounts in circumstances where your disabilities are very serious, such as when you have loss of limbs. If you have a spouse who is severely disabled, you will be paid a larger amount of benefits. If you have a spouse, children, or dependent parents, your benefits will also be higher.
Cost of living adjustments change the basic benefits amounts periodically, so you’ll need to find out how much your benefits will be worth each year. Beginning December 1, 2017, those who are 10 percent disabled without children will receive $126.24 in monthly benefits. Benefits go up from there. For example, a veteran without children or a spouse who is 60% disabled will receive $1,038.52 monthly. But, a veteran who is 60 percent disabled with a spouse would receive $1,182.52.
Because your benefits will vary based on the year when you apply, your disability rating, and your family circumstances, your best option to understand your anticipated benefits is to talk with a veterans disability lawyer to find out the amount of money that you are likely to receive.
Can You Receive Both Social Security and Veteran Disability Benefits?
The Veterans Administration is not the only source of disability benefits in circumstances when you cannot work. The Social Security Administration also provides disability compensation through Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Supplemental Security Income is a means-tested benefit, but Social Security Disability Insurance is not.
In many cases, if you meet qualifying criteria for both, you can obtain both SSDI benefits and Veterans disability benefits. Neither benefits program is based upon income, and both will provide you with monthly support in the event that you have a covered disabling condition.
However, you should be aware that the VA provides disability benefits if a service-connected disability causes even relatively minor impairments while the Social Security Administration provides disability benefits only when you are so severely disabled that you cannot have any job for which you’re qualified based on your past experience or transferable skills.
Can You Receive a VA Pension and Social Security?
It is possible to receive both a VA pension as well as Social Security benefits. You will need to independently qualify for both the pension and Social Security benefits. A veterans disability lawyer can provide insight into whether it is possible for you to get both of these types of benefits in your particular situation.
How Do Military Special Credits Work?
When you receive Social Security benefits, a formula is used to determine the amount you’re entitled to receive. This is based on your work history and wages, adjusted for inflation. If you haven’t earned a sufficient number of work credits, you won’t be entitled to Social Security. And, if your wages have been relatively low and you’ve paid little into the Social Security system, your disability or retirement benefits may be small.
However, the Social Security Administration gives special credits to military veterans for their service. When a veteran applies for either disability benefits or retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will check their record and will provide credit for additional wages for military service. The extra credit for service is added to the veteran’s lifetime earnings record, which increases the average wage that is used to determine the amount of monthly benefits a disabled or retired veteran receives from the SSA.
Why Hire a Veterans Disability Attorney for Your Claim in Manhattan or Long Island?
A veterans disability attorney can provide help throughout the entire process of applying for disability benefits. A knowledgeable lawyer can:
- Help you to determine if you’re likely to qualify for benefits based on the nature of your condition.
- Assist you in submitting an application for benefits and in providing the required proof to document the illness or injury that you experienced and to show that is a service-connected condition.
- Help you to appeal a benefits denial through multiple steps in the appeals process, including when you initially receive notification that your claim for benefits has been denied.
- Provide assistance in understanding the benefits that you should be entitled to receive given the number of dependents you have and your disability rating.
These are just a few of the many key reasons why it can make sense to hire a lawyer with experience in New York veteran claims. When you are coping with your own serious health issues or with the health concerns of a loved one, the last thing you need is to try to navigate a complicated bureaucracy and hope you can successfully convince the VA to give you the benefits you need. No matter the type of claim, Janet Santeramo, Marine and Junior Partner at TRR approaches each disability claim with the same mentality, “it is better to be proactive than reactive when considering filing for Veteran’s Compensation benefits.”
Discuss Your Options for Compensation With a Veterans Disability Lawyer at Our Firm Today
If you are currently suffering from a disability that was caused or exacerbated by having served in the military, you may be entitled to recover tax-free disability benefits through the VA. Recovering the benefits you deserve is not as straightforward as you might initially think, however. We are here to help. Firm partner and veteran, Janet Santeramo has always been and remains a champion of the underdog.
At Turley Redmond & Rosasco, L.L.P., our team has decades of experience representing disability claimants (including those whose injury or condition was caused by their service in the military) in securing the benefits that they are owed. We are committed to tailoring our services to the client’s needs. As such, we invest significant time and effort into collaborating with the client so that we fully understand their case from top to bottom.
Ready to speak to a seasoned Long Island veterans disability lawyer at our firm? Call us at 877-693-2529 or complete an online intake form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation today. We serve Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and more.