Houston VA Disability Claim
INSURANCE & CONTRACT CLAIMS
Houston Veterans Disability Lawyer
Top-Rated VA Claims Lawyer in Houston, TX
At Reich & Binstock, we’re not like other law firms. We prioritize advocacy for our clients above all else. You can rest assured that your VA disability claims will be in good hands with us. We have extensive experience handling various insurance and contract claims, including the following.
- Bad faith insurance claims
- Breach of contract insurance
- Health insurance claims
- Long-term care claims
- Managed care litigation
- Property damage claims
In other words, we’re well-versed in the tactics that insurance companies and other organizations use to get out of payments. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are here to represent veterans and their families when filing veterans’ disability claims. Call today to schedule your free case review and establish an attorney-client relationship with us.
How Do Disability Ratings Work?
Your VA disability rating is an important aspect of VA benefits to understand. Basically, in order to qualify for disability benefits at all, you need to meet certain requirements. If the United States Department of Veterans Affairs determines that you are eligible, they will assign you a disability rating. This rating signifies the extent of your disability. In other words, it represents the average loss of earning capacity someone suffers from that disability rating.
Ratings range from 10% disabled to 100% disabled, with ratings increasing in 10% increments. Higher percentages mean higher levels of disability. With a more severe disability, veterans receive a higher payout. Additionally, veterans’ benefits are adjusted each year according to cost of living increases.
Can I Appeal a Disability Rating?
Yes. A disabled veteran can begin the appeals process by submitting a Notice of Disagreement to their VA regional office. This Notice is also called Form 21-0958. The Notice basically informs Veterans Affairs that you disagree with the rating they assigned your disability. When they receive the form, the appeals process opens. Keep in mind that you have one year from the day that you receive your disability rating determination letter to file appeals.
You can also request an increase in veterans’ benefits if your disability worsens over time. Use Form 526EZ and include medical evidence of how your disability has worsened. Then, the VA will re-evaluate your disability rating. If they agree with your request, you will receive more compensation monthly.
This type of claim is more complicated than you might think. For this reason, we highly recommend speaking with our VA disability lawyers. If you make a mistake in your claims or appeals, you might risk a reduction or termination of your disability compensation.
Filing a Claim for VA Compensation
Before you ever begin the disability claim, we recommend speaking with a VA disability lawyer. It’s important to work with an attorney who has experience with veterans law and VA law as a whole. This way, you won’t risk having your claim denied and losing out on the benefits you deserve. Below, we outline the steps required to file a VA disability claim.
- Begin your application for veteran’s disability benefits. You can begin the process in the following ways.
- Call 800-827-1000.
- Visit your local or regional VA office.
- File online via the eBenefits page.
- Fill out and submit Form 21-526EZ.
- Have your VA-accredited attorney help with your application. Make sure you list the specific ailments you’re filing for, as well as when you first saw symptoms. To expedite the process, include copies of your medical records.
- Submit the following documents with your VA claim.
- Hospital and medical records related to the injury you’re filing a claim for.
- VA hospital records related to the injury.
- Statements from friends, family members, and others that support your claim.
Who Is Eligible for VA Disability Benefits?
You might wonder if you even qualify for disability compensation. The VA outlines clear requirements for compensation. In order to qualify for benefits for service-connected disabilities, you must meet the following two requirements:
- You served on active duty in the military, active duty training, or inactive duty training.
- You currently have a condition that affects your body or mind.
Both of the above factors must be met in order to qualify. Additionally, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Your condition resulted from your military service, and you can prove the link between your disability and your service.
- You had a condition before joining the military, and serving in the military worsened your condition.
- Your condition appeared after your active-duty service, and you can prove the link between your disability and your service.
Our disability lawyers can review your claim and your medical diagnosis in order to give you the evidence you need for a successful case.
What Injuries Are Included in VA Disability Compensation?
Many conditions are covered by VA benefits. Below, we list some specific conditions that the office of Veterans Affairs specifically lists on their website. These conditions qualify for disability benefits.
- Hearing loss
- Chronic back pain
- Breathing problems
- Scar tissue
- Loss of range of motion
- Cancer resulting from toxic exposure
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- TBI (traumatic brain injury)
How to Find a Veterans Disability Attorney
When you’re looking for an attorney with experience in veterans law and veterans appeals, it’s important to do some research.
During the process, we recommend asking the following questions to determine if an attorney is a good fit for your case:
- How much experience do you have handling VA issues?
- Can you help me achieve the earliest effective date for my benefits?
- How long have you practiced veterans law?
- Will you fight to achieve the highest disability rating for my case?
- If I need to appeal a rating decision, will you represent me throughout this process? This may involve going to the court of appeals.
Why Hire a Veterans Disability Lawyer?
Getting all the benefits you deserve out of your claim can be a frustrating process on your own. Working with an experienced attorney, however, will help your case in a number of ways.
- Personalized legal assistance: Veterans can receive help from nonprofit organizations or pro bono attorneys, but working with an attorney who has extensive experience handling these cases is often a better option. Our law firm can evaluate your case on an individual basis and determine the best course of action for you.
- Advice based on real experience: We understand that each disability-related case is unique. That’s why it’s important for veterans that we have real-world experience handling these cases. We also keep up with current disability rules and regulations, so the advice we give you is always up to date.
- Reduce the risk of denial: Working with an experienced law firm is imperative to avoid denial of your claim. This saves you both time and money, as we already know what is needed for a successful claim.
- Help you navigate the complex process: Unfortunately, VA disability claims can be difficult for the average person to navigate. With a veterans’ disability lawyer on your side, you’ll have an easier time filling out and submitting all necessary forms.
- Schedule medical exams to support your claims: It’s important to establish a service connection with your disability. We can help you schedule an independent medical exam with a doctor that has no connection to the VA.
How Can a VA Claims Lawyer Help Me?
Our law firm can help your case in a number of ways and in a number of situations. Not only can we help you file your initial claim, but we can also help with appeals, cases of sexual trauma, and retroactive VA benefits.
VA Disability Benefits Appeals
In order to begin the appeals process, you must submit a Notice of Disagreement to the regional office that denied your claim. We can help you fill out your Notice before you submit it. Most veterans may think that listing every reason for their appeal is necessary. However, it isn’t. We recommend that you clearly state your disagreement with their decision. Keep your reasoning general.
Additionally, clearly state that you intend to appeal the decision. Your lawyer can help you with the Notice and its wording. Once finished, send the Notice to the regional VA office that denied your initial claim.
Military Sexual Trauma Cases
Our nationally-recognized sexual abuse lawyers also handle military sexual trauma (MST) cases. MST cases happen during someone’s period of military service. Any armed forces member who suffers sexual trauma deserves justice and compensation for their suffering. At Reich & Binstock, we offer a free consultation to victims. Contact our law office to schedule an appointment with a compassionate attorney.
Retroactive VA Disability Benefits
As a veteran, you may not be aware that the VA awards retroactive compensation. One reason for this is that the application process for benefits is often backlogged and can involve very long waiting periods. You can receive compensation for the months or years that you spend waiting for the approval of your claim.
Most veterans are eligible for back pay. You may receive back pay from the first day of the month after your effective date. The effective date is the date on which the VA receives your application. Therefore, you could receive payment from the first of the month after your effective date onward.
Proving That Your Disability Is Service-Related
It’s important to understand how to clearly establish a service connection with your disability. In order to do this, your attorney will show the following.
- A medically-diagnosed disability that you currently have
- An injury, illness, or important event that occurred to you during your service
- A medical connection between the aforementioned injury, illness, or event and your current disability
Does the VA Offer Survivor Benefits?
Yes. The VA refers to survivor benefits as a “survivors pension.” The VA Survivors Pension allows a surviving spouse and unmarried dependent children of deceased veterans to receive monthly payments. However, there are important qualifications you must meet in order to receive these benefits. You must not have remarried after the veteran’s death. The veteran also must not have received a dishonorable discharge.
According to the VA’s website, one of the following must also be true.
- The veteran began active duty either on or before September 7, 1980. They must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one of those days being during a covered wartime period.
- The veteran began active service after September 7, 1980. They also served at least 24 months or their full period of active duty. They must also have served at least one day during a covered wartime period.
- The veteran began active service after October 16, 1981. They were an officer, and they had not previously served actively for 24 months.
Additionally, your yearly family income and net worth meet Congress’s set limits.
Can Veterans Lose Their Disability Benefits?
Technically, yes. A few situations exist in which the VA might lower or terminate your benefits. We list some of these situations below.
- The VA has severed the service connection for your disability. However, they must first notify the veteran that they intend to sever the service connection. This gives the veteran the opportunity to argue against the severance. The VA can only sever this connection if they find clear evidence of fraud or of an error made in granting the service connection.
- The VA overpaid benefits to a veteran. When this happens, the VA will garnish a portion of the veteran’s monthly disability payments until the debt is settled. However, veterans can fight this garnishment or request a waiver of their debts.
- The VA might reduce benefits if the veteran serves time in jail or prison. However, this reduction of benefits only occurs for veterans in jail for a felony, not for a misdemeanor.
How Much Do Veterans Disability Attorneys Cost?
Much like other attorneys, VA disability attorneys can only charge a certain amount for their services. This regulation comes from the Code of Federal Regulations § 14.636. For a better idea of how much your attorney will charge, we recommend speaking with them directly. If you are not opting for free representation, it’s better to discuss payment with your lawyer ahead of time. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page.
File a VA Disability Claim Today
If you need help with any aspect of your VA disability claim, Reich & Binstock is here for you. Our compassionate attorneys have extensive experience handling disability claims, and we will advocate on your behalf throughout the entire claims process. To schedule a free case evaluation with us, please call 713-622-7271. Remember that any sensitive or confidential information that you give us will remain confidential.
There is a never a fee unless we recover on your behalf.