The Veterans Law Group has added this section as a means for veteran service officers to obtain information relevant to their individual cases. The Veterans Law Group encourages veteran service officers to ask questions about the law, about record development, or about strategies of the case. As examples, below we have listed some frequently asked questions.
Yes. In dealing with the VA, all evidence and argument is submitted in written form. Once we accept a case, the Regional Office sends us an entire copy of the claims file, so we are able to make a case in support of benefits by using the claims file and VA case law. If after reviewing the claims file, we feel as though there is not enough medical evidence to support a claim for benefits, we will advance the cost of a independent medical evaluation in close proximity to the veteran's location.
No. A published General Counsel Opinion has now made clear that, under 38 C.F.R. Â§ 3.306(b), a claimant is not required to show that the disease or injury in question increased in severity during service to trigged the presumption of aggravation, thus requiring the VA to rebut the presumption by clear and unmistakable evidence. See VAOPGCPREC 3-2003.
The VA generally refers to a claim as a TDIU claim when two conditions are met: 1) a veteran has one service-connected disability with a 60% or more disability rating, or has two or more service-connected disabilities with a combined rating of 70% or more, and 2) there is medical evidence of unemployability. If the veteran satisfies these two conditions, then he will be entitled to a 100% disability rating, even though he does not satisfy that 100% disability rating under the schedule. See 38 C.F.R. Â§4.16(a)
An extra-schedular rating, on the other hand, applies to veterans who are unemployable due to their service-connected disability(ies), but whose disability(ies) does not meet the percentage requirements under Â§4.16(a). See 38 C.F.R. Â§4.16(b.)
A veteran can be rated 100% disabled under both a TDIU or extra-schedular theory. See Bowling v. Principi, 15 Vet.App. 1, 5-9 (2001).
You look at two factors. First, you must consider the date the last claim was received by the regional office, and second, the date the disability in question first manifested or became symptomatic. The later of the two dates should be the effective date of the service-connected disability award. See 38 U.S.C. Â§ 5110(a); McGrath v. Gober, 14 Vet.App. 28 (2000).
Yes. A veteran can receive both VA service-connected disability benefits and Social Security benefits. However, it is important to note that receipt of one does not guarantee receipt of the other. A veteran generally cannot receive both a VA pension and Social Security at the same time.
A veteran generally can still work when receiving VA disability. However, typically in order to receive individual unemployability or a 100 percent schedular rating for certain disabilities, a veteran cannot work full time or make over a certain amount of money per year (generally anything above the poverty line). This depends on each individual case and if you have questions about a claim for unemployability, or if you are not able to work due to a disability incurred in service.
If a condition that you are service-connected for through VA has worsened, you can file an increased rating claim using the basic claims form or by submitting a letter to your regional office indicating that your condition has worsened and you would like it reevaluated. It might be helpful to submit treatment records to VA proving a worsening of your condition.
No. VA service-connected benefits are not taxable and are not considered a part of a veteran’s yearly earned income.
A veterans service connected disability is not automatically continued for his surviving spouse. But a surviving spouse may be eligible for a death pension depending on income or Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits.
VA offers certain benefits for survivors and dependents of deceased veterans. A veteran’s spouse may qualify for Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits if: 1) the cause of the veteran’s death was due to service, 2) a veteran’s death resulted from a non service-related injury or disease and the veteran was receiving, or was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling for at least 10 years immediately before death, 3) the veteran was receiving the total disability for at least five years following his or her release from active duty immediately preceding death, or, 4) the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999, and was receiving benefits for at least one year prior to death.
"Were you happy with the final result in your case? "Very much so. "
"I was treated very fairly and was satisfied with the result. "
"Good communication, professional, caring, available, prompt, knowledgable, timely submissions. I was awarded 100% service-connected in a difficult area...Agent Orange and Parkinson's Disease. "
"I tried other representatives for over ten years. They never seemed to try to see my point of view, much less the truth. Mark Lippman's firm went to extremes to find the truth--they were very diligent in representing me in Court I would whole-heartedly recommend that anyone with a difficult case go to Mark Lippman. "
"I believe Mr. Lippman was entitled to more compensation than he received. He treated me more than fair. He listened to me. When you're hurting and tired of fighting the system, that means a lot. Mark performed admirably, quickly and professionally. I am more than happy with the final result. "
"I felt that the Veteran's Law Group took the time and gathered the needed info to support my case. They never pushed me and my case off to the side. They pushed for what was right and entitled to me for my service to this country. They were willing to listen to me and then do the needed research to support my case. They never made me feel that I was wasting mine or their time. "
"More than happy with final result because of your dedication and honesty. Absolutely treated me fairly and compassionately. "
"I was happy with Mr. Lippman's representation of my case. His firm accomplished what I thought hopeless-I received my compensation. "
"I was extremely happy with the Veterans Law Group and the manner in which they handled my case. There is no doubt in my mind that had anyone other than Mark Lippman litigated my case I would not have received the back benefits I received. Thanks to Mr. Lippman and the Veterans Law Group my life has changed. You cannot go wrong with Attorney Mark Lippman or anyone associated with his Veterans Law Group. "
"Mark Lippman helped me with a 10 year appeal and within a year and a half I received back pay of over $100,000. I would never have reached a settlement without Mark Lippman's help. The VA kept me in limbo for years. Mr. Lippman's knowledge of VA procedures made them accountable. I am now receiving 100% pension for my health condition resulting from the Viet Nam War. "
"Mark Lippman let me know all the information I needed to prepare well in advance. He even covered some early expenses for the case from his own sources. Excellent lawyer and the case was settled to my satisfaction. I am very thankful to Mark Lippman and his staff for representing me in this caring, precise and realistic manner. "
"Mark Lippman and I have worked together on cases before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims involving vision problems for several years. I have been a Service Officer for the Blinded Veterans Association for over 16 years. Mr. Lippman settled a claim I referred to him for over $500,000 -- the largest settlement I have ever known -- and he is currently seeking a Court decision in a case involving the unusual definition of 'blindness' used by the VA. "
"Mr. Lippman took on my case in 1991. Stuck in there until he was satisfied with the final decision which was 100% TDIU. Thank you Mr. Lippman. Will surely recommend you to other people. Law firm always done what they say they would do. I was very satisfied with the final results of my case. "
"I am very satisfied with your firm's representation regarding my claim against the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The partial settlement I have received has made me feel as though I am finally coming to a closure to a very important part of my life. Thanks to Attorney Mark Lippman for handling my case.
Mr. Lippman & the Veteran's Law Group have been professional and helpful through this whole long process. Could not be any happier. The moral victory was equally as important as the financial victory. For 60+ years the VA had denied my condition was related to service. "
"By myself, I would not have survived this, had it not been for Counselor Lippman. We started with nothing, only my story--to the result of winning a V.A. claim. I would recommend attorney Mark Lippman to anyone. "
"I have been trying to receive compensation since the early 70's from the V.A. for service connected disabilities. I believe without Mark Lippman's help I would still be trying to obtain was due me. I sincerely thank you, Mark and your Staff. "
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