Disability Law - Veterans
Obtaining Veterans Benefits: There are 5 Stages of Representation:
- Regional Office‐ located in Columbia, SC on Garner’s Ferry Road
- Board of Veteran’s Appeals (BVA)
- Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC)
- Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit (CAFC)
- United States Supreme Court
Process Overview: The initial “formal application” is usually filed by the veteran using
VA Form 21-526 found on the governments website www.va.gov. VA Law is found in the
US Code, title 38. Based upon the application, VA determines:
- Eligibility and veteran status‐honorable or general discharge ok.
- Existance of a disability‐ current, disease or injury, nexus.
- Any connection between the veteran’s service and the disability
- Degree of disability (rating) and
- Effective date of an award
If denied, attorneys are supposed to only charge a fee for doing the Appeals thereafter.
There are several options here:
- Can file an Appeal (Notice of Disagreement) and must be done within 1 yr of denial;
- Or, re‐file a Claim to Re‐open if missed the 1 year deadline;
- Or, appeal to the BVA directly and use VA Form 9
Rating the Disability: The specific individual’s earning capacity is not considered. Rather, the VA looks at a schedule of disabilities (Diagnostic Code) that assigns a rating
Attorney Fees: The VA will withhold a maximum fee of 20% of back pay for successful claims. 38 U.S.C. Section 5904 allows attorneys to charge this fee provided for only after the veteran files a Notice of Disagreement.