Myths About VA Disability!
Hiring an attorney/agent will speed up my case. FALSE. (We wish it were true, though.) When it comes to your VA Disability claim, there are only two ways to speed it up. The first way is if you are terminally ill, the second is facing economic hardship.
Hiring an attorney/agent will slow down my claim. FALSE This one does not make much sense. However, we often hear from prospective clients that a friend told them an attorney would slow their case down. Once again, misinformation plays a massive role in this myth. If hiring an attorney slowed your case down, then why would we be doing this in the first place? We submit claims, file appeals, review and present evidence, represent Veterans at all three levels of hearings, and do so much more. Hiring an attorney can be more efficient.
Deny, deny, deny until you die. FALSE, If this were true, then we probably would not be in business too long. While most veterans get rejected the first time they apply, it is still possible to get service-connected. We do a thorough review of all of your records to make sure you are eligible for benefits. We will only pursue valid claims. We receive favorable decisions on our clients regularly.
The VA is out to get me. FALSE, I find it hard to believe that the employees are plotting against anyone. We work with several Regional Offices throughout the nation, and they are people just like you and I. Did you know a lot of VA’s employees are Veterans? These people have so much work that they don’t have the time to plot against individuals. Now, is the system flawed? Yes, but the VA is taking steps to improve the backlog and make the process better.
Having a VA disability rating will affect my future employment options. FALES Many jobs require members to be in top physical condition (police, firefighters, first responders, federal agents, etc.). Some of these careers may require the member to pass a physical fitness test or other medical screening. In almost all of these cases, the underlying medical condition and your health and fitness will determine your ability to qualify for the job. The fact you have a VA disability rating generally won’t impact your ability to land the job. To counter this myth, a VA disability rating may give you additional Veterans Preference Points for federal employment (some states may have a similar program for state job applications).
My illness/injury isn’t bad. There is no need to file a disability claim. FALES
Everything is fine—until it isn’t. Injuries and illnesses can get worse as we age. This is likely to be the healthiest period of your life. File a disability claim if you have an illness or injury that occurred while in the military. Even if the condition is minor, establishing a service-connection is the first step in having your disability claim approved. The sooner you make your claim, the easier it is to establish a connection to your military service.
Getting VA Disability benefits will take them from someone who deserves them. FALSE This is a noble line of thinking, but it’s not true. There is no quota or the maximum number of veterans who can receive VA disability benefits. The VA also places veterans into Priority Groups based on the severity of their disability ratings, economic need, and other factors. The VA is there for all veterans, not just those who have the “greatest” need. You owe it to yourself and your family to receive the care and benefits you have earned.
It’s too late to file a disability claim—I left active duty years ago! FALSE
There is no timeline to file a disability claim for a service-connected disability. However, it’s much easier to file a claim shortly after leaving the military. This is because you need to establish a connection between your illness or injury and your military service. This is easier when done shortly after leaving the military. However, some illnesses and injuries don’t occur until years after leaving military service. This has received national attention in recent years as many veterans from the Korean and Vietnam War eras have been diagnosed with cancers and other medical conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure or related chemicals or exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Other exposure hazards include mustard gas, asbestos, ionizing radiation, Project 112/SHAD (chemical tests to defend against biological and chemical weapons threats), and Radiogenic Risk Activities. You can learn more about these chemical exposures. In these cases, it can take years or even decades before symptoms occur. Remember, there is no time limit to file a claim! Here is an article from a veteran who filed VA disability claims several years after separating from active duty.
I should wait until my VA Claim is over before I file for Social Security FALSE; while this is false, I understand where this logic comes from. For instance: “I can use evidence from one to argue the other.” While that is true, that does not mean you can’t do both at the same time. While Social Security and VA are alike in some ways, they are actually quite different. Put simply, the VA’s job is to determine if your disability results from your time in service. Social Security, on the other hand, is in place to determine if you are disabled, regardless of how you became disabled. So, it is likely that you are eligible for both.
I’m not eligible for VA Disability Compensation because I’m already receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) (or disability through another program). FALSE
You should verify this information before assuming you are ineligible to receive both forms of compensation. For example, it is possible to receive both VA disability compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits. There is even a program called Social Security Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors. No rule states that you cannot receive compensation from both sources. In fact, having a 100% Permanent and Total VA rating can make you eligible for expedited processing for your Social Security Disability claim.
I’m already receiving military retirement pay. VA Disability compensation will only reduce my retirement pay? Slightly Twisted TRUTH. This is another statement that is based on a partial truth, then twisted somewhat. Retirees with a VA disability rating of 40% or lower will have their military retirement pay reduced by the amount of disability compensation they receive from the VA. However, VA disability compensation is tax-free. So the net gain works in the veteran’s favor. Retirees with a VA disability rating of 50% or higher can receive Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP). CRDP awards veterans their full military retirement pay along with their full disability compensation payment. Military retirees with a disability rating may have their pay affected in other ways. The following article will give you more information regarding how VA disability compensation affects military retirement pay.
Back pay will go back to the time I was injured. FALSE, No matter when you served, who you are, or your injury, back pay originates when you initially file for benefits. (As long as your claim does not close.) Now, some of you might say: “my buddy got it back when he was injured.” Well, he likely applied as a part of his discharge process. No two claims are alike; therefore, everyone gets connected at different times.
Visit www.VADisabilityAdvocate.com or Call 702-209-5722 for your free consultation.