In this section, we will explain who qualifies for VA benefits and discuss the new legislation recently passed that will allow veterans to hire attorneys to help in their pursuit of VA disability benefits.
To be eligible for VA benefits you must be a veteran, a veteran’s dependent, a surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased veteran, an active duty service member, or a member of the reserve or national guard.
If you are at-least 10 percent disabled as a result of your military service, the VA can pay you monthly compensation. The amount of VA benefits paid is dependent on the percentage of disability. In other words, if the VA finds you 10% disabled, you would get less money than if they found you 80% disabled. Remember, the disability must be “service connected”.
To get VA compensation benefits for service connected disability, there is a three part test.
First, you must have a disability at the present time that has been diagnosed medically.
Second, there must have been a disease, injury or event in the service.
Third, there must be a nexus. This means that the current medical condition is related to the in service medical condition. This may include disabilities that are secondary conditions, due to a disability that is service connected.
You can receive a monthly pension if you are a war time veteran with limited income and you are permanently and totally disabled or are at-least 65 years old. The disability does not have to be “service connected”. This is needs based and the veteran must have limited income. These pension benefits are available to those who served during a period of war.
New legislation passed that allows veterans to hire attorneys to represent them for benefits before the Veterans Administration. Prior to this recent legislation, attorneys have been prohibited from charging a fee to represent veterans at the administrative level. This new legislation, if signed by the President, would allow veterans to hire lawyers to help with their veteran benefit claims. This is significant because it allows veterans to get the same advantage of legal representation that Social Security Disability claimants have.