This post describes the VA disability appeals process for decisions issued prior to February 19, 2019. Decisions received after that date are subject to the new VA appeals process.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a broad range of services and programs to veterans who meet certain requirements, including that they served in an active duty capacity and were not discharged under dishonorable conditions.
Eligibility requirements also depend on the type of benefits being claimed, so it can be difficult to determine who qualifies for what types of benefits. If you need help filing your own claim for benefits, you should consider calling a VA benefits attorney in Chicago who can assist you.
Qualifying veterans can collect VA health benefits, which helps cover the cost of inpatient and outpatient medical care. To this end, approved medical facilities can provide a variety of services, including surgery, mental health care, orthopedics, physical therapy, and radiology. Inpatient care also includes access to specialized care units, such as ICUs, transplant services, spinal cord injury centers, and traumatic brain injury services. While these benefits are available to all enrolled veterans, the specific type of care that is covered depends on each veteran’s specific circumstances. However, in most cases, veterans will have access to preventive care services, such as periodic medical exams, screening tests, immunization, counseling on genetically inherited diseases, and health education programs. The VA also provides both inpatient and outpatient mental health services, which includes cost-free military sexual trauma counseling.
Another important benefit offered by the VA is disability compensation, which allows qualifying veterans or their surviving spouses or dependent children to collect monthly benefits in recognition of the effects of injuries, diseases, and disabilities incurred during active duty. Generally, disabilities are rated on a scale from ten to 100 percent disabling and the amount of disability compensation that a disabled veteran can collect depends on the degree of severity of his or her injury. Compensation can also be provided for disabilities that are considered secondary to injuries that actually occurred during service, as well as disabilities that are presumed to be related to military service, even if they did not manifest until after retirement.
The VA also offers two broad categories of pension benefit programs, known as veterans pensions and survivors pensions. The former is a tax-free benefit that is available to low-income veterans who served during wartime, while the latter is paid to the low-income surviving spouses or unmarried children of deceased veterans.
To be eligible for a pension, a veteran must have served in an active duty capacity for at least 90 days, at least one day of which was during a wartime period. There is an exception, however, for those who entered active duty after 1980. These individual must have served for at least two years or the full period for which they were ordered to active duty, with at least one day occurring during a time of war. In addition to these requirements, the veteran must also be:
Finally, the veteran or his or her family’s income must fall below the amount set by Congress on a yearly basis.
If you or a loved one qualify for veterans benefits, please call The Comerford Law Office, LLC at 312-863-8572 to schedule a free case review with a dedicated Chicago VA benefits lawyer.