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Erickson Law Firm

Disability Law - Veterans

Obtaining Veterans Benefits: There are 5 Stages of Representation:

  1. Regional Office‐ located in Columbia, SC on Garner’s Ferry Road
  2. Board of Veteran’s Appeals (BVA)
  3. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC)
  4. Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit (CAFC)
  5. 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:

  1. Can file an Appeal (Notice of Disagreement) and must be done within 1 yr of denial;
  2. Or, re‐file a Claim to Re‐open if missed the 1 year deadline;
  3. 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.

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