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VA Disability for Aging Veterans: What You Need to Consider

Veterans of our armed forces have done so much to support our country. The United States Census Bureau estimates that there are approximately 18 million military veterans nationwide. For aging veterans, a disability or other medical condition can take a toll. It can put a lot of pressure and stress on a veteran and their family. Through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), there are programs available to help support disabled veterans. At The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck, PLLC, we are proud to provide personalized, solutions-focused representation to disabled veterans. Here, our Phoenix VA disability attorney provides an overview of the key considerations for aging veterans. 

Consideration #1: A Senior Citizen Veteran May Be Eligible for a Wide Range of Benefits

If you are an aging U.S. military veteran, it is useful to understand that there are a wide range of different benefits that may be available through the government. You may be entitled to some form of benefits through any of the following programs:  

  • Healthcare Services: You can receive comprehensive healthcare services through the VA, including preventive care, treatment for service-connected conditions, and specialized geriatric care. These benefits can include access to medical facilities, coverage for prescription medications, and coverage mental health services.
  • Disability Compensation: Veterans with disabilities resulting from service are entitled to monthly compensation. The amount depends on the degree of the disability. VA disability claims are complicated. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the process. 
  • Pension Programs: For veterans of wartime periods who meet certain age or disability requirements, pension programs provide a supplemental income. VA pension benefits can be particularly helpful for those with limited financial resources.
  • Burial and Memorial Benefits: Veterans are entitled to burial in VA national cemeteries, including a gravesite, headstone or marker, and a burial flag, acknowledging their service even in passing. Knowing that these benefits will be there in the future can remove some financial burden on a veteran and their family. 

Consideration #2: A Veteran Must Prove a Service-Connected Disability

Who qualifies for disability benefits through the VA? The short answer is that you must be a military veteran who can prove a service-connected disability. The process begins with submitting a detailed claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The claim must include evidence of the disability, such as medical records and statements from healthcare providers. Additionally, veterans need to provide documentation that links their disability directly to their military service.

Once submitted, the VA reviews the claim through a comprehensive evaluation process. They may request further examinations or documentation to verify the service connection. If the VA determines the disability is indeed service-connected, they assign a disability rating. The rating—which is expressed as a percentage—is a basic assessment of the severity of the disability. 

Consideration #3: VA Disability Rating Will Play a Key Role in a Claim

The disability rating is a crucial aspect of the VA disability claims process process. It is expressed as a percentage in increments of 10—ranging from 0% to 100%. The purpose of the rating is to provide an assessment of the extent to which the disability affects the veteran’s ability to perform work activities and other activities of daily living. A higher percentage indicates a greater impact on the veteran’s life. A higher disability rating also results in higher monthly disability compensation.

The key takeaway is that your disability rating matters. If you have a disability rating that is unfairly low, given the nature and severity of your disability, it is imperative that you take action to correct that error. Otherwise, you may not receive the full and full VA disability benefits that you are entitled to under federal law. An experienced disability attorney can help. Medical evidence can be used to help get an unjustifiable (low) disability rating corrected. 

Note: Veterans with multiple disabilities receive a combined rating calculated through a specific formula—not simply by adding the percentages. 

Consideration #4: Aging Veterans Have the Right to Appeal a VA Disability Denial

Unfortunately, some aging veterans struggle to get access to their disability benefits. If your VA disability claim was denied, you have the right to file an appeal. Initiating an appeal involves submitting a Notice of Disagreement to the VA. This step must be taken within a specified timeframe after receiving the denial notice. During the appeals process, veterans have the opportunity to present additional evidence, undergo further medical evaluations, and offer testimony to support their claims. 

Claims Tip: Be proactive: The sooner you start the appeals process, the better position you will be in to secure any available financial benefits. An attorney can review your case and determine the best strategy to appeal your disability denial. 

An Attorney Can Help You Take Action to Maximize Your Disability Benefits

Veterans’ disability claims are complicated. If you are an aging veteran—or a family member of one—who has a lot of questions about the process, you are far from alone. A professional will help. Along with other things, a Phoenix VA disability attorney can: 

  • Listen to your story and answer your legal questions; 
  • Advise you on all of your available VA options; 
  • Investigate your case—gathering evidence/information; 
  • Help you gather and organize your medical records; and
  • Take action to help you maximize your disability benefits. 

Every situation is different. The right strategy for another veteran’s disability case may not be the right option for your claim. An experienced Phoenix, AZ, VA disability attorney will review your case and determine the best path forward for your family. 

Contact Our Phoenix VA Disability Lawyer for a Free Case Review

At The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck, PLLC, our Phoenix VA disability attorney is committed to helping veterans secure the absolute maximum benefits. If you have any questions about the VA disability claims process, we are here to help. Contact our law firm today for your free, strictly confidential initial consultation. From our office in Phoenix, we provide VA disability representation in Maricopa County and throughout the wide region. 

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