So you’ve done something incredible and spent time serving our country in the military. First off, we would like to thank you for your service! You’ve done so much to protect your families, your community, and your country from danger. Luckily, there are things that your country can offer you as well, to thank you for your contribution to our safety and freedom.
These come in the form of veterans’ benefits. VA benefits can be claimed by both veterans who have left the service through retirement or separation, as well as the military who is serving in active duty. Benefits can include things like education or training programs, as well as career counseling; special terms on loans or insurance from banks; better provisions on disability claims; support for veteran-owned small businesses; pension programs specific to veterans; among many others.
When it comes to disability claims, veterans have special rates and compensation packages for dealing with an injury that was acquired while serving in the military. These injuries can include physical injury, as well as mental health conditions that began or were exacerbated by a member’s service. As a veteran, individuals that win their disability claims are compensated on a monthly, tax-free basis.
As you can see, it’s absolutely worth it to take advantage of veterans benefits that are there to help you. Unfortunately, applying for benefits that you may want or need can be a relatively difficult, time-consuming process. Especially in the case of disability claims, navigating the court system – and the military court system at that – can be difficult. Luckily, there are also various resources available that can help you as a veteran figure out how to file for benefits in a way that works best for your needs, as well as the needs of your family.
Should I hire a VA Disability lawyer or use a VSO?
Typically, you have to options when it comes to choosing who will help you file for your VA benefits: a VA disability lawyer or through the use of a Veteran Service Organization.
What is a VSO?
VSOs are Veteran Services Organizations set up by the federal government which were created for the purposes of helping advocate for you as a veteran. In most instances, they’re private non-profits that are mostly run by a group of volunteers. Often, they’re also started by veterans like yourself as well. People in your VSO will help you file a claim for disability, or for any other VA benefits you’re hoping to take advantage of.
What do VA disability lawyers do?
VA disability attorneys will serve a similar purpose, in that they will file your disability claims for you in court. The difference between a VSO representative and a veteran’s affair attorney is that VSOs offer their members and those who use their organization a wide variety of services. Oftentimes, that means that many of their staff members, whether they are paid or volunteer for your VSO, can be stretched pretty thin in regards to all of their duties.
If you were to hire a VA disability attorney, however, their duty is limited only to fighting disability claims on behalf of their clients. VA disability attorneys are true experts in their field, and know everything there is to know about making a filing and arguing your case in court. As a result, there are several instances where hiring a VA disability attorney may be better for you in the long run, rather than using the services of a VSO.
- 1. Your case is complex
The more complex your case is, the better it is if you have an actual attorney on your case. In some instances, your case may just be too complex or difficult for a VSO volunteer or employee to undertake. For example, certain claims require that you prove through a lot of evidence that the severity of your injury prevents you from working or earning a living. In these types of cases, it’s best to have a lawyer on your side.
- 2. Your first claim was denied
If you lose your original claim, it may be time to contact an attorney. In most instances, you can appeal your denial, which will then get remanded to the original court. Should this happen, your attorney can help you appeal your claim to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals or the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. By hiring an attorney, you have someone who will best represent your interests as well as the facts of the case.
- 3. You think your compensation due to your claim is underrated
Because an attorney can better represent your interests and these facts, hiring one is especially important if you think that you have been undercut in terms of what your claim is worth. Filing for a claim can be super stressful and time consuming, which is especially worse if you aren’t receiving some of your benefits. In hiring an attorney, you’re essentially taking out all the “guesswork” that can come with filing a claim, and your attorney can help you figure out what benefits you deserve.
How much do VA disability claims cost to file?
The use of VSOs is generally free for any of their services, including for the filing of a disability claim. In a lot of instances, however, while you don’t necessarily have to be a member of the VSO representing you, they certainly will appreciate you joining their ranks! Some VSOs have minimal membership fees.
VA Disability Attorney Costs
First off, it’s important to note that your most VA attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, they will only receive their payment should they win your case for you. This gives you the added benefit of knowing that they will try their hardest to win you your case. Additionally, often, the cost will actually come out of the benefits you have just won, and there aren’t any up-front costs for your initial consultation. So there’s no harm in seeing what a VA disability attorney can do for you today!