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Denials of Veterans Disability Benefits

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Qualified Veterans Disability Denial Lawyers Serving All of Long Island and New York City

Veterans are entitled to receive disability benefits for injuries, illnesses and conditions that were sustained or exacerbated by service. Claims must be submitted to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), who will evaluate the application and determine whether you qualify for benefits and assess the severity of the disability. However, the VA receives numerous applications for benefits. As such, they are very quick to deny claims that fail to satisfy certain requirements. Understanding the factors leading to denial can help you minimize the possibility of an adverse decision. Below are some common justifications used by the VA for denying claims. Contact our veterans disability denial lawyers as soon as possible if you have been denied benefits.

Submitting a Claim for Benefits

The VA is likely to deny claims that lack sufficient evidence. They receive a large volume of veterans’ disability claims. As such, they demand a comprehensive and well-supported application for benefits. If you submit an application that is inadequate (with respect to proper documentation, testimony, etc.), then the VA will have to act in accordance with the information presented. The VA may choose to deny the claim outright, undervalue the claim by incorrectly assessing the level of disability or they may process the claim correctly, but only after a long and burdensome processing delay.

Given the possibility of an adverse result, it is important for you to work with a qualified team of attorneys who understand how to properly prepare an application for veterans’ disability benefits that is likely to lead to a favorable result.  Your claims must not only be submitted in a timely manner, but it must include supportive evidence (i.e., medical records, medical and vocational testimony, etc.).  Here at Turley Redmond & Rosasco, L.L.P., we have helped numerous clients in Long Island and throughout New York City develop and submit successful veterans’ disability applications.

How Hiring a Veterans Disability Law Firm Can Help Prevent a Denial 

The VA carefully scrutinizes all disability benefit claims, and even minor mistakes and oversights can leave you without the benefits you deserve. But, do you need to hire veterans disability lawyers? Or, if you take your time with your application, can you secure benefits on your own? Here are five reasons why you should hire a Long Island veterans disability lawyer to represent you:

1. You Need to Establish Your Eligibility

The fact that you are a veteran does not mean that you are automatically eligible to receive disability benefits from the VA. You must satisfy various eligibility requirements, and you must clearly establish your eligibility in your benefits application.

2. You Need to Prove that You Have a Service-Connected Condition  

You also need to be able to prove that you have a service-connected condition. While this will be fairly obvious in some cases, in others it can be far more difficult to convince the VA that your condition(s) are service connected and or you are entitled to compensation. In all cases, you need proof that your illness or injury is a result of your military service, and you must submit adequate supporting documentation of the cause of your condition. 

  1. You Need to Accurately Calculate Your Benefits

There are several different types of VA disability benefits, and you need to make sure you are seeking the right type of benefits based on your service and your medical condition. You must accurately calculate your benefits as well, as you need to make sure that you are receiving the full benefits you deserve.

4. You May Be Entitled to Other Benefits, Too

In addition to VA disability benefits, you could also be entitled to benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) and other government agencies. In addition to helping you apply for VA benefits, experienced veterans disability lawyers will be able to help you secure any other available benefits as well.

5. You Do Not Want the Process to Take Any Longer Than Necessary

Finally, if you need to collect benefits for a service-connected condition, you do not want the process to take any longer than absolutely necessary. Mistakes can lead to appeals, and appeals can lengthen the duration of the process significantly. An experienced Long Island veterans disability lawyer will be able to help you avoid time-consuming mistakes and ensure that you start receiving benefits as soon as possible.

Our Veterans Disability Denial Lawyers Can Help with Common VA Justifications for a Denial

Completing an application for veterans benefits on your own could easily result in a denial of benefits. Unfortunately, even with the assistance of an attorney, the VA could reject your application. Our team of attorneys outline the most common reasons for denials and explain how we can help. 

Procedural Deadlines

As a veteran’s disability claimant, you must ensure that you follow all necessary procedural requirements, including deadlines. For example, if you do not appeal the VA’s adverse rating decision within 12 months, you will relinquish your ability to move forward with the appeals process.

Failure to Complete Mandatory Medical Exams

The VA will schedule mandatory medical exams to evaluate the severity of your disabling condition. Failure to complete these mandatory medical exams could lead to a denial of benefits.

Disability Insufficiently Severe

Veterans disability benefits are only available if the VA determines that you are at least “10 percent” disabled with respect to the severity of the disabling condition at issue. If your disability is deemed insufficiently severe (i.e., less than “10 percent”), the VA will likely deny the claim. If you disagree with the VA’s determination, contact our veterans disability lawyer for assistance.

Dishonorable Discharge

Veterans who were dishonorably discharged are not entitled to receive disability benefits for their service-related disabilities. To avoid a denial, make sure that you present evidence of your honorable discharge as proof.

Disability Not Linked to Service

Only service-related disabilities are covered by the VA. For example, if you return on your way home from duty and you injure your spine while driving on the highway, that injury may qualify for veterans disability benefits.

What Happens If Your Veterans Benefits Claim Is Denied?

If your claim for veterans’ disability benefits is denied, you can appeal the denial and fight for the money that you deserve. While it can be frustrating to get a benefits denial, many applications end up being denied because of errors in processing the claim or because of simple mistakes that are easy to correct. You simply need to take appropriate actions to prove you are actually entitled to benefits so you can get the funds you need to support yourself and your loved ones.

The appeals process begins by filing a Notice of Disagreement with the Regional Office. This indicates that you want to begin the appeals process. As part of this process, you will need to determine if you want a traditional review or if you want a decision review officer to take a close look at your application.

Traditional Review of Denials 

If you opt for a traditional review, a rating staff member will analyze your claim to identify errors and determine if your claim was complete and accurate. However, the decision cannot be reversed in a traditional review unless there was a clear and unmistakable error in the initial process, nor can the reviewer request that you provide new evidence.  If you want a decision review officer to take a look at your claim, it will be reviewed de novo, which means that the decision review officer will look again at all of the details of your claim as if reviewing it for the first-time. Decision review officers have the legal authority to reverse or uphold the prior decision that was made on your claim for disability benefits.

You have a limited period of time to decide on your own and express your preferences for whether you’d prefer the traditional review or would prefer to have the Direct Review Officer assigned to your appeal, so it’s smart to reach out to an experienced attorney to find which course of action is best for you. After the first phase of review, you may receive a Statement of the Case (SOC) explaining that your appeal has been rejected and detailing the reasons why. You can then continue with additional phases of the appeals process, including appealing to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The BVA can grant your request, can deny your claim, or can send your claim back for additional review.

Requesting a Hearing

When you reach this phase of appeal, you can request a formal hearing. This will take place before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which means that the judge works for the Veterans Administration rather than working as an independent judge as part of the federal judiciary. Although ALJ’s work for agencies, they still can form unbiased opinions in hearings related to your disability benefits.

If you are still not happy with the decision made by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, you’ll have exhausted all of your options for appealing the denial of benefits within the Veterans’ Administration system and you will need to try to appeal the benefits denial in federal circuit court. 

Our veterans disability attorneys can offer experienced guidance throughout the entirety of the appeals process and can help you to ensure you are doing everything possible to maximize the chances of your appeal being successful. You can submit new information and supporting documentation at any time when you are appealing, and our legal team will help you to gather the evidence that you need to try to bolster your claim that you are deserving of benefits.

How Many Times Can You Appeal a Claim Denial?

There are multiple phases of appeal within the VA system if your claim for benefits is denied. You can have your initial application reviewed again, you can go to court and have a hearing, and you can have the Board of Veterans’ Appeals review your case. You can also go to federal court.

This means that when your benefits are denied, you have multiple opportunities to try to convince someone at the VA or within the federal court system to change the initial decision and ensure you can get the money that you need to support yourself and your loved ones.

Contact Our Long Island Veterans Disability Lawyers to Fight Your Denial 

If you have been denied veterans disability benefits, all is not lost. There are many options in appealing the decision.

A large percentage of veterans disability claims are denied (oftentimes in error), so it is important that you do not give up. Work with a skilled veterans disability lawyer who understands how to reposition your case to maximize the likelihood of a favorable result.

At Turley Redmond & Rosasco, L.L.P., our attorneys have over 30 years of experience advocating on behalf of veterans and other disability claimants, helping them to develop and submit comprehensive, effective applications for benefits and guiding them through the appeals process, when necessary.

Ready to move forward with your claims? Call us at 877-693-2529 or complete an online intake form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation with the seasoned veterans disability lawyers at our various locations on Long Island. We will evaluate your case and work with you to identify next steps.

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