Getting Vets the Benefits They Deserve in and around Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana
You served your country with dedication and courage. Now you are suffering from a disabling injury, disease, or condition caused or made worse by your military service.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers disability benefits for veterans who meet these criteria. Unfortunately, the disability claims process is often full of challenges.
At the Karl Truman Law Office, we thank veterans from the bottom of our hearts for their service. Our founder and principal attorney, Karl Truman, retired from the U.S. Army Reserve after nearly 30 years with the rank of lieutenant colonel. As a result, we consider it our duty to help our nation’s heroes get access to the benefits they deserve.
Whether you are filing for veterans’ disability for the first time or you are appealing a denied claim, the Karl Truman Law Office is here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.
For service in and around Louisville, Kentucky, please call (502) 222-2222.
For service in and around Jeffersonville, Indiana, please call (812) 282-8500.
Should I Get a Lawyer for VA Disability?
The decision to hire a lawyer or file a claim on your own is completely up to you. The VA may connect you with a veteran service organization (VSO) to assist with the claims process.
However, even at this early stage it may be beneficial to hire a veterans’ disability lawyer. The requirements for filing a claim are complex. You will need to complete a disability claim and present evidence of your injury or condition.
The VA currently faces a massive backlog of disability benefits applications. Many claims are initially denied due to improperly completed forms or lack of medical documentation. So, to improve your likelihood of receiving the benefits you deserve without delay, it may be worth hiring an attorney to ensure that your application is complete and that you have the necessary medical evidence to support your claim.
If your claim is denied (which unfortunately happens more often than not) or you believe your disability benefits are less than you deserve, it is important to contact a VA disability lawyer to help with your appeal or dispute. An experienced attorney can review your initial application as well as the letter denying your claim or notifying you of your compensation rate.
Qualifying for Veterans’ Disability Benefits
To be eligible for veterans’ disability benefits, you must be a veteran who served active duty in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. If you received a bad conduct, other than honorable, or dishonorable discharge, you may not be eligible for benefits.
You must have a medically diagnosed injury, condition, or disability that occurred during active service or was made worse by your active service. Conditions that may entitle you to pursue benefits include but are not limited to:
- Chronic, disabling back pain
- Tuberculosis and other lung diseases
- Serious hearing loss
- Arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss-of-limb injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Diseases related to exposure to radiation or hazardous materials such as Agent Orange and asbestos
- Gulf War illness
This list is not exhaustive. Furthermore, the ability to receive benefits for some qualifying disabilities is time-limited by how soon after discharge the condition appears.
How to File for Veterans’ Disability Benefits
If you have an injury or condition that you believe qualifies you for veterans’ disability benefits, you will need to complete an application and submit evidence that supports your claim. Evidence you can submit includes medical records from the VA, a hospital, and/or your private doctor, as well as statements from loved ones, friends, community members, and the brothers and sisters who served with you.
In order to make a decision, the VA will review your application and supporting materials, as well as your military service record and discharge. According to the official website, it currently takes almost 80 days for the VA to review and provide a decision disability claim applications.
If Your Benefits Claim Is Accepted
If the VA determines that you are eligible for benefits, you will be notified by mail. Known as an award letter, this document will detail the VA’s decision on if your condition qualifies for benefits, how much you will receive each month based on the disability rating, and when you will start to receive your benefits.
Although the VA purports to have an accuracy rate of 95 percent in evaluating the severity of disabilities, the Karl Truman Law Office knows that many veterans are disappointed with the disability rating and compensation they receive. If you are facing this situation, the award letter contains instructions for how to dispute the VA’s decision.
If you disagree with your disability rating or benefits, the Karl Truman Law Office will proudly help you build a case and file a Notice of Disagreement with the VA.
If Your Benefits Claim Is Denied
If your benefits are denied, you will also need to file a Notice of Disagreement. Appealing a VA disability claim denial is time-consuming and frustrating, but the experienced lawyers at the Karl Truman Law Office can help with each aspect of your claim.
An appeal involves one or both of the following steps:
1. Decision Review Officer (DRO) Appeal
DRO appeals are considered by the VA office in your region. You can ask for a hearing, or forgo the hearing and request that the DRO reconsider the application and documents you have on file.
In the event that the DRO denies your claim, the next step is filing an appeal with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).
2. BVA Appeal
Once the BVA receives notice that you intend to appeal, the VA will create a report that outlines its decision to deny your benefits. This report will take months to prepare, but once you receive a copy you will have only 60 days to file your appeal.
A BVA appeal is much more complicated than the DRO appeal. The Karl Truman Law Office has the experience to help you. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your claim.
3. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims
If the BVA appeal does not result in a decision in your favor, our attorneys can take your claim to the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims. This appeal involves the navigation of complex federal laws, so it is important to hire a qualified attorney who can help you prepare the best argument possible.
Types of Veterans’ Disability Benefits
Another confusing area of VA disability law is understanding the types of benefits for which you may be eligible. Finding and applying for the right benefits program is crucial for getting the compensation you need and deserve.
The VA classifies benefits compensation according to four different categories:
1. Disability Compensation
Disability compensation is a tax-free monthly benefit for veterans who suffer injury or illness as a direct result of their military service, or those with a condition aggravated by their service. The benefit is designed to compensate veterans for wages they are unable to earn as a result of disability stemming from military service.
Your monthly benefits compensation is determined by the VA using a rating of your disability. This rating classifies the severity of your disability on a scale of 10 percent to 100 percent.
2. Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
SMC is an additional tax-free benefit that covers the cost of assistance for a disabling injury, such as paralysis or the loss of a limb. The compensation helps defray the expense of hiring a home healthcare worker or other attendant.
Both veterans and their spouses and parents may be eligible for tax-free SMC benefits.
3. Claims Based on Special Circumstances
Special claims provide benefits for other costs connected with a military disability. These costs include:
- Recovery from surgery
- Dental care
- Increased payments if you are totally unable to work
- Vehicle and vehicle modification allowance
- Allowance for clothing damaged by a prosthesis or orthopedic device
Special compensation may also be available if you were exposed to Agent Orange during your military service, and your child subsequently developed spina bifida or another birth defect.
4. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
If you are the spouse, child, or parent of a veteran who died as a result of a disability connected to their military service, you may be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. DIC benefits may also be available to family members whose loved one died in active duty or during training.
DIC benefits are available to family members who were financially dependent on the deceased veteran or servicemember. Compensation is tax-free and replaces lost income.
How Much Does a VA Disability Lawyer Charge?
Although different lawyers adopt different fee structures, most try veterans’ disability benefits cases on a contingency fee basis. This means there is no fee for an initial filing until the appeal is filed.
Typically, attorney fees are deducted from the lump sum payment the veteran receives for past-due benefits (the compensation you waited for as the VA heard your appeal).
The fee for these cases is 20 percent of the recovered lump sum, but there is no fee for the initial filing.
Why Choose the Karl Truman Law Office for Your VA Disability Claim?
Attorney Karl Truman has extensive experience with veterans’ disability benefits law. He is a VA-accredited attorney, which signifies that he has completed advanced training in Department of Veterans Affairs procedures. As a military veteran himself, Lt. Col. Truman prides himself on providing knowledgeable, ethical representation for veterans seeking benefits.
He is supported by a team of capable, compassionate people, including a dedicated veterans’ disability claims coordinator who is a veteran of the U.S. Army. Together, the Karl Truman Law Office team provides not only qualified legal guidance but support and understanding to veterans and their family members.
Contact Our Veterans’ Disability Lawyers Today
As someone who served his or her country, you deserve compensation if you suffer an injury or become ill as a result of your service. Unfortunately, the process of receiving benefits can be long and arduous. That is why you need an experienced lawyer to help you take on the VA and win.
Count on the Karl Truman Law Office to help you file your veterans’ disability claim, appeal a denial or low rating, and more. Please call (502) 222-2222 for a free case review in Louisville, Kentucky, or dial (812) 282-8500 for service in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Do you want to learn more about the appeal process? Order a free copy of my book “Fight the VA and Win”
From Back Cover: Whether you are Army Strong, one of The Few and the Proud, Not for Self but Country, you Aim High, or are Always Ready, you have represented the colors of this great nation. No matter old or young, this country owes you a debt-- especially if you have physical lasting effects of your time in service. Your benefits may only be a few forms away.