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 Comerford Law Office helps veterans who were injured as a result of their military service seek benefits from the VA. VA benefits lawyers may only become involved with a case after the VA has rejected an application. Our job is to look over the application and determine where the VA made a mistake. This process is complex. For that reason, the U.S. government offers certifications to attorneys representing veterans in this matter. The Comerford Law Office and James Comerford are both certified to provide counsel to veterans seeking VA disability benefits.
Unfortunately, applicants must have their application denied before a VA benefits attorney may step in. So the applicant must send a rudimentary application to the VA, which will almost certainly come back denied unless their injury was very obviously related to their service, like stepping on a landmine or something light that. An applicant who lost his leg in battle would not have to exert much effort to prove his case.
Other injuries, however, accumulate after years of repetitive stress or toxic exposure. Sometimes, science has not caught up with our understanding of how certain chemicals work (Agent Orange exposure, for example). In other cases, it may be difficult to establish how your injury is related to your military service or the extent to which your injury impairs your ability to work. The Comerford Law Office has dealt with all of these situations before and successfully acquired benefits for our clients.
Once you have submitted your application, it will likely come back denied. You will be given a Notice of Disagreement, which allows you to preserve your right to appeal. Afterward, you will be given documents that you must submit to build your case. These documents, called Form 9s, are quite complex, require that you gather a lot of information, and require that you make a legal argument to the VA’s satisfaction using medical evidence. In other words, it is beyond the scope of what most laypeople can do.
The Comerford Law Office works closely with you, your family, your doctors, and anyone who may have been witness to your injury or could provide information concerning your injury. In some cases, we bring on vocational counselors to discuss what types of labor you can or cannot perform. All this is an extended effort to build an ironclad case file that passes the VA’s threshold for disability. The process is a marathon, not a sprint. But at the end, if your application is valid, The Comerford Law Office will help you prove it. Call today to learn more.