What is definition of a veteran for VA disability?
“A person who served in the active military, naval or air services, and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.” 38 U.S.C. $ 101(2), 38 CFR $ 3.1(d) 2006.
The way it stands now is if a notice of disagreement is submitted before June 20, 2007 then you can hire an attorney after the first final decision by the BVA or Board of Veterans Appeals, if you hire them within one year. If notice of disagreement is submitted after June 20, 2007 you can hire a lawyer after the filing of that notice of disagreement. You can also hire a lawyer if you have a case in federal court.
Who qualifies for veterans benefits and pension?
To qualify for Veterans Compensation the veteran must have 3 things. First, they must have a current medically diagnosed disability. Second, the veteran has to have had a precipitating disease, injury or event while serving in the military. Lastly, the current disability must be related to the precipitating disease, injury or event from veterans service time. The hardest part of this test is the third part; this is where most claims are denied. It is also significant to note that if you have a condition that is service connected and that service connected condition causes another condition to develop then this results in the second condition qualifying for service connection as well. Substandard care at a VA hospital that causes an injury is also considered service connected.
To better understand this concept I will provide an example. Lets say that you presently suffer from PTSD that was diagnosed by your psychiatrist. You suffer this condition as a result of an experience you had while serving in the military and can show this. Then you would be eligible for veterans compensation and a determination will be made on your percentage of disability. It is of course usually not this easy. It can be very difficult sometimes to show that your present disability is related to an in service condition. This is especially true when the in service disease, injury or event is hard to prove or is different from the current medical condition but caused the present disability. Many times veterans may not even be aware that their in service condition caused their present condition. (You can not get both Aid and Attendance and House Bound benefits.)
You must have served for at least 90 days and you must have had at least one day in war time. For those who served in military after 9/7/80 you must have served 24 months or longer or full term of which you were called to active duty. You must have little or no family income the rate at which is set by congress. You also must have been discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable. You must be totally and permanently disabled or 65 years or older.
If you are found eligible for pension you may also be entitled to aid and attendance or household benefits. This is for veterans who are more seriously disabled and these benefits are in addition to pension.
Aid and Attendance can be granted to a veteran when they are eligible for pension and any of the following. The veteran requires the aid of another to perform personal functions of living. You are bedridden. You are in nursing home due to mental or physical disability. You are blind.
House Bound is also paid in addition to monthly pension. A veteran is eligible for these benefits if they qualify for pension and one of the following. You have 100% single permanent disability and permanently and substantially confined to immediate area. You have 100% single permanent disability and another disability evaluated at 60% or more.