We’re a Veterans Disability Law Firm Helping Veterans With These Types of Disability Claims Appeal Denials and Low Ratings
Learn What You Need to Know Before Filing a Veterans Disability Appeal for Your Type of Illness, Disease, or Disability
Does My Disability Count for Veterans Disability Benefits?
Learn About Types of VA Disability Claims and When to File
Learn when to first file a claim for service-connected benefits and talk with one of our veterans disability attorneys before you file to request more benefits or have new evidence to support the appeal of your claim that the Veterans Administration denied in the past. You can learn more about filing your initial veterans disability claim from the VA and discuss how RG Injury Law can help identify evidence of your illness, disease, and/or disabilities for a successful veterans disability appeal.
The VA requires the following evidence to support your veterans disability claim:
- A current physical or mental disability (damage to your body or mind that makes you less able—or totally unable—to do everyday tasks, including meaningful work), and
- An event, injury, or illness that happened while you were serving in the military to cause this disability
The following list of symptoms is covered by VA Benefits if you have the required evidence.
These are some of the types of claims that the Veterans Disability Compensation Covers:
Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange
Famously known for its use by the United States military in Operation Ranch Hand, Agent Orange has caused an array of problems for Vietnam Veterans. Any individual who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War (or in some cases, near the Korean DMZ) is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. This means that a veteran does not have to prove whether he came in contact with the herbicide. However, the veteran still must show that a present disability exists and that said disability is due to Agent Orange exposure. The following is a list of some of the diseases that are associated with Agent Orange:
- Al Amyloidosis
- Chronic B-Cell Leukemias
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
- Hodgkin’s Disease
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Early-Onset Peripheral Neuropathy
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
- Prostate Cancer
- Various Respiratory Cancers
- Various Soft Tissue Sarcomas (excluding osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, and mesothelioma)
If you are a Vietnam veteran, there is a strong possibility that you were exposed to Agent Orange. If you suffer from any of the medical conditions listed above, there is a chance that Agent Orange exposure is to blame. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
It is common for veterans to have been exposed to extremely loud and hazardous noises while in-service. Due to this exposure, veterans commonly develop hearing loss problems and tinnitus. Thanks to the addition of VA Fast Letter 10-35, an in-service event will not always have to be established in order to bring a hearing loss claim. Specifically, Veterans Affairs (VA) will concede exposure to hazardous noise if a veteran’s MOS is shown to have a highly probable or moderate probability of exposure. In order to determine whether a veteran’s MOS was at risk for noise exposure, the VA will examine the Duty MOS Noise Exposure Listing.
Even if such noise exposure is conceded, a veteran will still have to establish a link between current hearing loss and the in-service exposure. This nexus can be established through the use of an independent medical opinion.
Often associated with hearing loss is tinnitus. Tinnitus can be characterized as hearing a ringing, buzzing, clicking, or hissing sound in the ears. If you have tinnitus, you may also have hearing loss and vice versa.
The attorneys at Rankin & Gregory take pride in being able to represent veterans in their disability appeals claims. If you have been denied for a hearing loss or tinnitus claim, call us today for assistance. As trained legal professionals, we understand how to navigate the bureaucracy that is the VA. Moreover, we won’t charge a fee unless we recover money for you.
Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU)
Even if a veteran is not 100% service-connected, he or she can still receive benefits at the 100% rate through TDIU. There are two main ways that a veteran can be considered eligible for TDIU. First, a veteran can be considered eligible for TDIU if he or she has at least one service-connected disability that is rated at 60%. Second, a veteran who has two or more service-connected disabilities can be considered eligible for TDIU if he or she has a combined rating of at least 70% and one of the disabilities is rated at least 40%.
If a veteran meets the rating criteria, he or she must then show an inability to maintain “substantially gainful employment.” The concept is somewhat similar to the analysis conducted in social security disability claims. Particularly, the VA will consider whether the veteran’s service-connected disabilities prevent him or her from being able to maintain a career. In making a determination, the VA will consider several factors such as the veteran’s job history and current symptoms that the veteran must deal with on a day-to-day basis.
If you are no longer unable to work due to your service-connected disabilities, you may also be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If you would like more information on SSD, check out the “Am I Eligible for SSD” link on our site. At Rankin & Gregory, we handle both service-connection and SSD claims. We never pressure people to become our clients and charge nothing to consult with our attorneys. If you have been denied benefits and are considering whether to hire an attorney, feel free to contact us. We will provide you with a quick response and a realistic outlook as to what we could do to assist you with your claim.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is a term that most Americans are now aware of and is commonly associated with combat veterans. While it is important for the public to understand that not all veterans develop PTSD, it is even more important for veterans to understand that PTSD is not a weakness, but an injury. Moreover, PTSD can be a difficult injury to heal from and reaching out is the first step. Do not hesitate to contact the Veterans Crises Line (1-800- 273-8255, then press 1) if you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD.
If you think you may have PTSD, it is best to consult a doctor or medical professional; however, there are some basic signs and symptoms to be alert for if you believe that you or a loved one may have suffered a PTSD injury. Below are some questions to ask yourself if you think that you or a loved one may be suffering from PTSD. If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, you or your loved one may qualify for service-connected benefits.
The first question to ask is whether you or your loved one was exposed to a traumatic event in-service. Traumatic events include exposure to death, threatened death, injury, threatened injury, sexual violence, or threatened sexual violence. This exposure could have been direct or indirect. A classic example of indirect exposure is a first responder who did not witness the initial traumatic event but deals with its consequences (such as a medic).
If such exposure occurred, the next question to ask is whether you or your loved one is experiencing symptoms of PTSD. There are multiple criteria to be considered. The first criterion to examine is whether the traumatic event is being re-experienced. A veteran who has intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks of the traumatic event he or she experienced will likely satisfy this requirement. A veteran who experiences emotional distress or physical reactivity following exposure to traumatic reminders will also likely fulfill this requirement. For example, a veteran who hears a car backfire and attempts to take cover or becomes increasingly anxious because it reminds him of gunfire has experienced a reaction to a traumatic reminder.
Another consideration to take into account is whether you or your loved one is avoiding trauma-related stimuli after experiencing the trauma. These types of symptoms may even cause a veteran to change his or her personal routine. For example, a veteran may avoid standing near windows because he or someone he served with was shot through a window. Another example would be having to leave a room during a show or movie because there is a violent scene taking place that reminds the veteran of his or her experiences while serving.
Yet another factor to consider is whether you or your loved has negative thoughts or feelings that began or worsened after the traumatic event. For example, a veteran who has overly negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself or the world may meet this criterion. A veteran who blames oneself for the traumatic event or, on the opposite end, has the inability to recall key features of the trauma may also meet this criterion. Feelings of isolation or a decrease of interest in activities may also suggest that a veteran is having negative feelings.
Finally, the last question to consider is whether you or your loved one is experiencing trauma-related arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the initial trauma. Some things to look for are showings of irritability, aggression, risky/destructive behavior, or hypervigilance. Becoming more easily startled and experiencing difficulty with concentrating or sleeping are also signs that an individual is experiencing trauma-related arousal and reactivity.
If you or a loved one has experienced any of these symptoms, PTSD may be the reason. Again, it is best to seek a medical professional for a diagnosis. You should also consider applying for disability benefits if you think that you may have PTSD. While the VA has gotten better with diagnosing and awarding service-connection for PTSD, it still struggles to provide veterans with an appropriate rating for service-connection (generally, the VA will provide a lesser rating than what a veteran is really entitled). If you have been denied for PTSD, or if you have been awarded service-connection, but at a lower rate than you think you deserve, call our office at 717.656.5000 for a free case evaluation.
Talk with an RG Injury Law PA Veterans Disability Benefits Comp Lawyer. Email or call 717.656.5000.
Reach Out on Social