When Is a Veteran Allowed to Hire a Veterans Lawyer for a VA Claim?

Q: When can a veterans lawyer help?

A: A veteran can enter a fee based contract with a veterans lawyer once he or she has received the initial rating decision from the VA regional office. Since you cannot hire a veterans lawyer to help you with initially applying, the VA will provide assistance should you need it. Once you receive that initial rating decision, it is recommended that you have a veterans lawyer review it. Even if you are awarded benefits, one of the aspects of the rating decision may affect the amount you are awarded. Do not settle for less than what you believe you are entitled to, if something in your rating decision is incorrect.

Q: Does filing for disability insurance with the Social Security Administration work the same way as filing for benefits with the Veterans Administration?

A: The Social Security Administration and the Veterans Administration are separate government entities. That means that the guidelines for eligibility for benefits with each agency is different and you will have to submit applications for benefits with both. And being awarded benefits with one agency does not guarantee that you will be awarded benefits with the other. The biggest difference between the two agencies is that the Social Security Administration, unlike the Veterans Administration, does not assign percentages to claims. A claimant is either determined to be eligible for disability benefits or not. It is important to note that some veterans who have received treatment only through VA hospitals have had difficulty obtaining the necessary medical records and supporting documentation to support their SSDI claims. If this is the case, seek assistance from a veterans lawyer or social security lawyer. He or she can help you successfully obtain that supporting evidence and assure that your SSDI claim is as strong as possible.

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