What are the requirements for filing a claim for Veterans Benefits?
Claims for Veterans Benefits are subject to the review and acceptance of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A veteran must prove that he or she qualifies for the benefit or service for which they are applying. If the application for benefits is incomplete or more evidence is needed to make a decision, the Secretary must notify the applicant, who will then have one year to provide the requested information or evidence. If that is not received on time, the claim for benefits or services may be denied.
If medical information is required for approval of your claim, you may submit a report prepared by a private physician as evidence for your claim. This report can be accepted by the Secretary at their discretion if it is believed to be thorough enough. However, when reviewing a claim the Secretary has the right to have another physician review the evidence.
Can I receive both a pension and compensation as a result of an injury during service?
You cannot receive both a monthly pension payment and compensation payments for an injury sustained during military service. However, if a veteran applies for and is granted pension moneys, but cannot receive them because he is already being paid compensation, the Department will pay whichever benefit is greater to the veteran.
Are spouses and dependents entitled to compensation in cases of death during service?
Spouses and children of persons who were killed during service at anytime after December 31, 1956 are entitled to "dependency and indemnity compensation."
Am I eligible for a monthly pension if I have served in the military?
You are eligible for a monthly pension if you are a wartime veteran with limited income, and you are permanently and totally disabled or at least 65 years old.
A veteran is considered a wartime veteran if they served at least 90 days in the military, at least 1 day of which was during a war time. Additionally, if you were discharged from the military, the discharge must not have been dishonorable.
Another requirement, with exceptions, applies to those who entered active duty after September 7, 1980, who must have served for at least 24 months or the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty.
What should I do if my claim for Veterans benefits has been denied?
You should file an appeal with the Board of Veterans Appeals. This board will review your denied claim for benefits or services and issue a decision that can either affirm or reverse the decision of the office to which you made your claim.
As a result of injury during military service, I cannot get a job. What are my options?
In addition to a monthly compensation stipend for your disability, assuming your disability is determined to be at least 10% disabling, the Department provides vocational rehabilitation and employment for disabled veterans. These services include job search assistance and various training programs, all at no cost to veterans who are eligible.
Generally, a veteran will have 12 years from the time they are notified that they have at least a 10% disability to receive vocational services.
I've filed an appeal on my Veterans Benefits claim will I need an attorney?
You may represent yourself, but Veterans Appeals will be represented by its attorneys. Your case may be better presented if you are represented and you should get advice from an attorney. However, the attorney needs special qualifications in order to be allowed to appear on your behalf. Silverman Law has those qualifications.