What Qualifies You as a Disabled Veteran?

Life isn’t always easy for veterans once their war ends. Many of them return home dealing with physical ailments, mental or emotional trauma or struggling to find work or housing.

And while there are programs designed to help our men and women in uniform, veterans benefits programs can often be difficult to navigate. In this blog post, we’ll look at how people can qualify as disabled vets, and how an elder law attorney can offer legal assistance for disabled veterans.

Can I get Veterans Administration disability compensation?

According to the Veterans Administration (VA), you may be eligible for disability benefits or compensation if you have an illness or injury affecting your mind or body and meet at least one of these requirements below.

Both of these must be true.

  • You must both have served on active duty, active duty for training or inactive duty training.
  • And you must have a disability rating for your service-connected condition.

And one of these three things must be true:

  • You got injured or sick during your military service and can link this condition to your injury or illness (called an in-service disability claim)
  • You had an injury or illness before joining the military and saw it get worse because of your service (a preservice disability claim)
  • You have a disability related to active duty service that didn’t appear until your service ended (a post service disability claim)

The VA lists three “presumed disabilities”:

  1. A chronic illness that appears within a year after discharge
  2. An illness caused by contact with toxic chemicals or other hazardous material
  3. An illness caused by your time spent as a POW (prisoner of war)

Military discharges and benefits

There are a few different types of discharge from military service and they each affect the benefits you can receive:

  • Honorable discharge – This means you met or exceeded the military’s performance and contact standards and are eligible for all veterans benefits.
  • General discharge under honorable conditions – The next best thing to an honorable discharge, this means your performance was satisfactory and entitles you to most of the benefits of an honorable discharge.
  • Other than honorable discharge (OTH) – This means you committed security violations or misconduct during your service and will typically not be eligible for veteran benefits, although the VA will examine your case to make a determination.
  • Bad conduct and dishonorable discharges – Bad conduct discharges are imposed by court-martial, or a military criminal trial. A dishonorable discharge is the worst kind of discharge, given to people who commit serious criminal offenses such as rape or murder. In either case, service members who receive these discharges are not eligible for benefits.

What conditions do VA disability benefits cover?

You may be able to get benefits if you deal with:

  • Breathing problems connected to a current lung condition or lung disease
  • Severe hearing loss
  • Scar tissue
  • Ulcers
  • Chronic back pain resulting in a current, diagnosed back disability
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Cancers caused by exposure to toxic chemicals and other hazards.

You may also be able to get veterans benefits for depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Legal assistance for disabled veterans

If you’re a veteran who’s having trouble navigating the benefits system, an elder law attorney may be able to help. Some of the ways an attorney can provide legal assistance for disabled veterans include reviewing your medical expenses and finances to determine which benefits you can access and how to begin applying, as well as helping figure out the benefits you’re entitled to as VA regulations change.

The attorneys at Newman Elder law are proud to provide legal assistance for disabled veterans. Contact us today to learn more.

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