Frequently Asked Questions

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.

About Veterans Law Group

What is Veterans Law Group's fee?

Veterans Law Group never charges any upfront fees, like retainer fees, to help Veterans get the VA disability benefits that they have earned. There is no charge for a consultation and VLG will cover the cost for any independent medical exams that are necessary. VLG only receives 20% of any back pay or retroactive benefits you are awarded as payment. We never take any monies from a Veterans monthly compensation award.

Will Veterans Law Group assist a Veteran even if the Veteran is not located near the attorney or if the attorney is not located near the Veterans local VA Regional Office?

Yes. It does not matter where the Veteran lives. We assist Veterans from coast to coast, and even Veterans who live overseas.

What is VLG strategy? What is VLG doing for me?

VLG is trying to get you the highest rating at the earliest possible effective date. The exact strategy will depend on your specific issues and be determined on a case-by-case basis. That includes, if applicable, pursuing both TDIU and schedular increase/schedular 100%, including multiple ways to schedular 100%.

Is Veterans Law Group Accredited with the VA?

Yes! To be considered VA accredited, representatives must be “of good moral character and in good repute” as well as having the established “level of experience or specialized training.”

The VA requires accredited representatives to pass background checks as well as an exam and to regularly complete continuing education courses with new, up-to-date information including VA processes, policies, and law changes. VA-accredited attorneys cannot have been disbarred or suspended from any court, bar, or government-regulated agency.

Veterans looking for representation can use tools provided by the VA on their website. This searchable list allows you to enter a representative’s name and location to see if they are currently accredited. If they are, their name, contact information, and accreditation number should appear, like this:

What is VLG's success rate?

What matters most when choosing a VA attorney is experience. VLG wouldn’t have taken your case if didn’t think we could get it. While VLG cannot guarantee an outcome, we work on a contingency basis and have a high success rate. It may not be a fast decision, but we will pursue all appeal options as long as we can to get you the highest rating at the earliest possible effective date.

With VLG, you will have Firm that has over 28 years of experience serving Veterans who have bravely served our country and is well-equipped to handle a wide range of VA disability concerns. Some of the cases we commonly handle include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Military sexual trauma (MST)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Physical disabilities
  • Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU)
  • Agent Orange
  • Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC)

Must I attend in person at VLG when my appeal request is being reviewed?

No. VLG understands the difficulty and inconvenience it can be for a Veteran with both emotional and physical disabilities to have to trek from their home to an office miles away. It can be done by email and phone.

About VA Benefits

How does VA disability ratings work?

First, the ratings are not a scale as to you being a disabled person. The disability ratings are a compensation level. The VA provides monthly cash compensation for Veterans with service-connected disabilities based upon an approved compensation levels by Congress.

The VA rates disabilities on a scale from 0% to 100%. The increments vary for each disability. Some increments are in 10%, while others are 20% or even 30% differences. A 0% rating means the VA recognizes a service connection but does not consider the condition serious enough to qualify for monthly compensation, while a 100% rating indicates that the Veteran is severely compromised by the disability.

If a Veteran has two or more service-connected disabilities, the final rating is based upon the VA’s Combined Rating Table. The VA starts with the highest two ratings and works from there. Ratings for individual conditions can't be simply added together, because a person can never be more than 100% disabled or 100% able bodied.

How does VA determine the effective date of a disability award?

Multiple factors go into how the VA awards effective dates. It depends on when you file for a disability. You can learn more at the VA website page: Disability Compensation Effective Dates | Veterans Affairs (

Can a veteran work while receiving VA disability?

Yes and No. A Veteran generally can still work when receiving VA disability. However, a Veteran who is receiving TDIU or a 100% schedule rating for mental health cannot be gainfully employed. Both of these are based on total occupational impairment.

How do I increase my VA disability rating?

If you feel you your service-connected disability has worsened, you can file a claim for increase. You need to supply to the VA updated medical evidence from your treating doctor(s) for the disability. The medical evidence needs to show how you have gotten worse from the time of original rating to present. When the VA issues a service-connected rating it states why the current rating was given and what conditions needed to be shown for the next higher rating. Some ratings max out at 10%, while others at 50%, and others at 100%.

How much weight does a C&P exam have on my VA disability claim?

The VA puts tremendous weight on the Compensation and Pension exam (C&P). The VA considers it the most a vital part of your disability claim. The C&P has multiple functions. It helps the VA confirm a diagnosis of the disability, the severity of it; and if what you say caused it in the military has a viable and confirming nexus to your military service.   If the VA schedules a C&P and you fail to attend it. The VA will deny your claim outright.

What is the difference between a claim for total disability based upon individual unemployability (TDIU) and a claim for an extra-scheduler disability rating?

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 one of the disabilities is rated at 40%. (the disability or disabilities that cause you to be unemployable need to be at 40%).  

2) there must be medical evidence of unemployability. You have to be medically shown unable to work, even sedentary work.

If the veteran satisfies these two conditions, then the Veteran has met the requirements for entitlement to a 100% disability rating, even though he does not satisfy that 100% disability rating under the schedule.

An extra-schedular rating, on the other hand, applies to veterans who are unemployable due to their service-connected disabilities, but whose disabilities does not meet the percentage requirements.

FROM THE 38 CFR 4.16(b):

It is the established policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs that all veterans who are unable to secure and follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of service-connected disabilities shall be rated totally disabled. Therefore, rating boards should submit to the Director, Compensation Service, for extra-schedular consideration all cases of veterans who are unemployable by reason of service-connected disabilities, but who fail to meet the percentage standards set forth in paragraph (a) of this section. The rating board will include a full statement as to the veteran's service-connected disabilities, employment history, educational and vocational attainment and all other factors having a bearing on the issue.

Other Questions

Can a veteran receive both TDIU and SSDI?

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.

Will participating in the VA Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry negatively affect my VA disability claim?

No. Exposure to particulate matter via burn pits is known to present certain health risks for Veterans. To help Veterans proactively monitor their health and to gain greater insight into which conditions may be service-connected, the VA created the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry (AHOBPR) in 2014.

You are not required to participate in the registry in order to receive VA disability benefits. The process is separate from the Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam used to evaluate your claim for disability benefits. However, you can submit notes from the registry exam to support your VA claim if you choose to do so.

Are VA service-connected benefits taxable?

No! VA service-connected benefits are not taxable and are not considered a part of a Veteran’s yearly earned income.

Are VA disability payments continued for a surviving spouse or other family members?

Yes, but there are certain eligibility requirements. A surviving spouse, child, or parent has to submit a claim called Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC) claim. You can find detailed information on the VA website page: About VA DIC For Spouses, Dependents, And Parents | Veterans Affairs

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