A VA Case Study

Last month we ran an article in the Veterans Help Group Newsletter* that discussed how common disability rating disparities are amongst service members separated from the military. We also discussed the importance of appealing an unjust disability rating. For many vets, appealing the VA’s decisions can be a scary thing.

Some vets might feel they are being overzealous and should be content with the rating they received, while others decide they would rather not go through another year or two of the bureaucratic torture that is the disability claims process. Either way, these vets are forfeiting their rights to receive fair compensation for the physical and/or psychological injuries they sustained during combat.

In January, our firm accepted a case for a former Marine who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and hearing loss in one ear. Though every case is unique, this soldier’s story was familiar. He had witnessed the deaths of several of his fellow service members while fighting in combat and lost his hearing in one ear as a result of shots being fired at close-range and loud explosions.

After filing a disability claim with the VA on his own in early 2005, he received a rating of 50% for his PTSD and 10% for his hearing loss – a combined rating of 60%. When the Marine appealed for a higher rating, he was denied by the VA’s regional office. He never appealed the denial.       

Sadly, as is the case with many vets, the Marine’s condition got worse. He suffered for four years at his original rating before deciding that he needed to do something. That’s when he contacted our firm. What happened next is rare, but certainly possible with the help of an experienced veterans disability lawyer.

Because so much time passed since our client was denied a higher rating, our firm had to reopen his claim and start a new application. This gave us the opportunity to gather his most recent medical records and have his treating doctors complete special medical and mental assessment forms that would help prove his condition deserved a higher disability rating. Remember, the most critical aspect in any veteran’s disability claim is strong medical evidence.

Within months of submitting his new medical evidence, our client’s disability rating was increased to 100% on the first decision! Our client was shocked by the quick response and extremely grateful for the positive outcome. 

Did you know that you can continue to receive disability benefits at your current rating while we fight to get you a higher one? Contact us for details – 1-855-855-8992.

*Let us know if you’d like to be added to our e-mail distribution list for the monthly newsletter on topics related to Social Security and Veterans Disability.