Compassionate VA Benefits Attorneys Help Clients All Over New Jersey and Philadelphia
The men and women who protect our country and our freedom have earned the right to live comfortably after their time in the military is complete. However, hundreds of thousands of war veterans in the United States are struggling to get by on very low incomes. Many are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other debilitating illnesses or injuries. Many of these illnesses and injuries are a direct result of their time spent serving the country.
The United States offers Veteran benefits to those who have served. Unfortunately, when it comes time to claim these benefits, the application process doesn’t always go as smoothly as one would expect. It is not uncommon for claims to be denied. This can be quite discouraging for someone who desperately needs the financial assistance or health benefits for which he or she is applying. There is an appeals process, however, this can complicate things even further.
The best way to ensure that your claim or appeal is approved, and that you receive the full spectrum of benefits to which you are entitled, is to consult an attorney with significant experience helping veterans get the benefits they deserve. At Bratton Scott, we believe it is absolutely unacceptable for these brave, dedicated individuals to suffer because of an inability to work or earn enough to survive after having served our country.
What are the Benefits Available to US Veterans?
There are several benefits available to veterans. The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) helps veterans and their families live more comfortably by providing financial assistance in the form of supplemental income. The two supplemental income programs are the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension. In order to qualify for either of these needs-based programs, you must meet the income eligibility guidelines. There is a yearly income limit, and your “countable” family income must fall below that limit in order to receive benefits. There are several other qualifying factors as well. The main requirements are as follows:
- You must have at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during a wartime period
- You must be at least age 65, OR
- You must have limited or no income, OR
- You must be totally and permanently disabled, OR
- You must be in a nursing home, OR
- You must be receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
- You must be receiving Supplemental Security Income
If you entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally you must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions), with at least one day during a wartime period. Even if you meet all of these requirements, it is still possible for a claim to be denied. There are countless reasons a benefits claim can be denied. This is not fair, but it is the reality of the situation. Sometimes, it may be a matter of paperwork that wasn’t properly completed or missed deadlines. If you have been denied for veterans’ benefits, contact the attorneys at Bratton Scott for assistance with your appeal. We are well-versed in all facets of elder law and life care planning, including all forms of veterans’ benefits. We will take the time to listen to your individual needs and ensure that you receive the full extent of benefits available to you.
Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to Pension.
VA Disability Lawyers Help Ensure You Get the Benefits You Deserve in Cherry Hill, Princeton, Mount Laurel and Throughout New Jersey
Disability Compensation is another form of veteran’s benefit. Veterans with disabilities that are the result of active military service are usually entitled to receive this tax free monetary benefit. Veterans may also receive compensation for a post-service disability if it is considered to be related to a disability acquired through active military service. This is true even if the disability occurred after service. There are two disability compensation programs available to veterans and their families. These are:
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) – This program offers a tax-free monetary benefit paid to a surviving spouse, child or parent of a service member who dies while on active duty or training, or who dies from a service-related disability.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) – This is an additional tax free monetary benefit paid to veterans, their spouses and surviving spouses or parents. For veterans, this benefit provides a higher rate of compensation based on special circumstances, such as a specific disability. For spouses, this benefit is based on the need of aid and attendance by another person.
Common VA Disability Claims:
- Agent Orange exposure
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Depression and anxiety
- Back, neck and shoulder injuries
- Total disability claims
What Do I Do If My VA Benefits Claim Was Denied?
In addition to disability benefits and pension programs, the VA offers additional benefits to veterans with disabilities. These include housing grants, insurance and mortgage life insurance, among others. If you have been denied for any of these benefits, it is in your best interest to find an experienced attorney right away. The first step, after receiving any kind of unfavorable decision, is to file a “Notice of Disagreement.” It is important that you are very clear about what you disagree with and that your decision to appeal is apparent.
It is not uncommon for veterans to contact us after unsuccessfully attempting to appeal on their own. In doing so, they may have missed something very important or, even worse, the one-year appeals period may have passed. If the VA does not grant your first, informal appeal, you will need to proceed with a formal appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals. The more specific the appeal request, the more likely you will succeed in getting your benefits approved.
Your presence may be requested at a Bureau of Veteran’s Affair Meeting (BVA). These meetings vary in terms of formality, but your testimony is always taken under oath. If you present sufficient evidence as to why your claim should have been decided more favorably, it could result in the judge awarding your claim on the spot. These hearings are extremely critical to the outcome of your case, therefore, it is not advisable to proceed without experienced legal counsel. The attorneys at Bratton Scott have secured benefits and obtained positive results for countless veterans throughout New Jersey and Philadelphia.
If You Have Been Denied for Veterans’ Benefits, Contact an Attorney Experienced in VA Disability and Pension Claims
The lawyers at Bratton Scott will review your case and determine the best way to move forward in an effort to get you approved for the VA benefits you deserve. We understand how frustrating a denial can be and we will be by your side protecting your rights as we appeal the decision. We invite you to contact us online or call our offices in New Jersey or Philadelphia at 856-857-6007. We serve clients in areas such as Cherry Hill, Princeton, Mount Laurel, Moorestown, Voorhees and Medford. Charles C. Bratton, II is an accredited attorney with the Department of Veterans Affairs.