Veterans Benefits Attorneys
If you sustain or aggravate an injury or contract a disease or condition while serving in the military, or while on active duty or while working on a military base, then you may qualify for veterans benefits if you meet certain other conditions. However, many veterans who apply for benefits receive a denial and must appeal. In some cases, this can mean that years pass before you receive the compensation you deserve. Having an experienced VA Disability attorney on your side gives you a better chance of approval, and can even expedite the process in some cases. You may also be entitled to Social Security disability benefits in addition to VA benefits.
At Riddle & Brantley, our veterans disability lawyers have been helping veterans throughout North Carolina obtain the benefits they deserve for more than 30 years. We represent veterans in their claims for VA Disability benefits as well as personal injury claims for active service members. Additionally, we have experience with claims involving Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune water contamination. In these cases, family members of military personnel and civilian employees may also qualify for benefits.
If you are unsure if you are eligible or have been denied benefits, contact us today for a free consultation. We offer free consultations for both VA benefits and Social Security disability, and we can discuss your eligibility for both cases in one phone call. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When Can I Apply for Veterans Benefits?
Military personnel increasingly serve longer, both overseas and at home. In many cases, a serviceman or woman may serve multiple, consecutive tours under dangerous, difficult and stressful conditions. Many returns to civilian life with physical, mental, and emotional injuries and conditions (seen and unseen) that render them unable to resume a normal, income-producing life. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes this reality.
Benefits are available for veterans who are not dishonorably discharged (your discharge can be Honorable or General to qualify) and have a service-related injury or condition. This can mean you suffered an injury or developed a physical or mental condition while in service. However, you may also be eligible for VA benefits if a previous condition became worse while you served. An attorney specializing in veterans disability benefits can help you navigate your options.
Disability and compensable ratings for military veterans
Additionally, your condition does not have to be totally disabling in order to qualify for benefits. The VA has a system of partial ratings that award benefits based on the extent of your disability. For example, if a brain injury causes you to be 50% disabled, you may be entitled to a 50% “disability rating” and corresponding benefits. However, this system is complex, and your disability rating may not be the same as your “compensable rating,” which determines your monthly payments. It is best to consult a VA disability benefits lawyer for more information about your specific circumstances.
Can I Receive Veterans Disability Benefits for Any Injury?
You may qualify for VA Disability benefits or other compensation for any service-related injury. This means the cause of your disability does not have to be a “battlefield wound.” Even if you injured your knee during a softball game while on active duty, you may still qualify for benefits. Any injury or accident on a military base may be grounds for a personal injury claim and possibly disability benefits. Our attorneys have experience assisting veterans stationed at bases across North Carolina, including:
Do Non-Physical Injuries Qualify? What About Alcohol or Drug Abuse-Related Disabilities?
Alcohol or drug abuse-related disabilities may also entitle you to benefits. These conditions may qualify if the problem relates to a condition that arose during your service. The same is true for mental or emotional conditions, which may be disabling.
Similarly, if you were exposed to a toxic substance or chemical, like those affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination, you may be eligible for compensation. Occasionally, as in the case of Camp Lejeune, special laws and regulations entitle victims to additional compensation.
Sometimes, if you have already been found partially disabled by the Veterans Benefits Administration, it is possible to increase your benefits. If you do not think your current percentage rating is fair or adequate, then a military disability lawyer from our law firm can help you seek a new evaluation. We do not charge any up-front fees for representing veterans in these claims. Our fee comes from any past-due benefits you eventually receive. If you do not win your case and receive back benefits, then you owe us no attorney fees.
How to Avoid the Veterans Benefits Claim Backlog
The VA is woefully understaffed and under-resourced. This has resulted in well-documented backlogs in processing disability benefits claims for veterans. The VA recognizes this and has implemented a program whereby veterans, with the right help from a lawyer or other representative, can avoid or minimize delays. This program is called the “Fully Developed Claim” or FDC for short.
What is an FDC?
The concept behind an FDC is that the veteran waives the right to VA assistance in developing a benefits claim. Instead, a veteran may proceed straight to the Regional Office with the claim. Properly done, this can get you a decision within just a few months. Otherwise, you may wait eight to eighteen months—the “normal” delay.
To utilize this process, you must make sure that you have the entire claim and all required documentation properly assembled. Otherwise, you are likely to be denied. In a standard disability benefits claim, a VA representative would assist you in gathering documentation and completing the proper forms. For an FDC, you must do this yourself, with the help of qualified legal counsel. In essence, you and your attorney do the VA’s job by gathering the evidence you need to support your case. Then, we submit it directly to the Regional Office that makes the decision. Our attorneys can help you decide if an FDC is the right option for you.
However, an FDC does not help if you have already received a denial after going through the initial application process with the VA’s assistance.
Denied Benefits? Our Veterans Benefits Attorneys Can Help.
At Riddle & Brantley, each of our attorneys has family members that have been in the military at one point or another. We have a strong connection to the military and believe that all disabled veterans should receive the benefits they deserve. Therefore, we represent injured servicemen and women from military bases throughout North Carolina and nationwide. We also help prepare and submit disability applications and FDCs.
Everyone supports our military, whether active duty or retired. We have a special place in our hearts for our military as we have 4 bases in our area: Seymour Johnson AFB, Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point. They deserve the best our country can give them in return for their service and sacrifice. —Gene Riddle
Contact us for a free consultation
If you have questions about eligibility requirements or any other veteran’s injury compensation issue, then contact us today. We can explain your legal options and help prepare your claim. Our lawyers will work relentlessly on your behalf because Justice Counts.
We have four office locations, including Goldsboro, Raleigh, Kinston and Jacksonville, home of Camp Lejeune. We also represent clients nationwide. If you cannot visit our offices, we will come to you. All consultations are free and we always work on a contingency fee basis. So, if you do not receive benefits, you owe us nothing. For more information, we welcome you to call (800) 525-7111 or complete a free case evaluation form.