Do I Have to Be Disabled to Get Benefits?
Disability benefits are just one kind of benefit available to US veterans. There are many other benefits you may be entitled to even if you are not disabled by service-related injuries. Veterans without a service-related disability may still qualify for these benefits:
- Veteran’s Pension Programs: To qualify for a veteran’s pension, you must have been discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions and served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of wartime. If you do not meet these qualifications, you may still qualify for a pension without a disability if you are age 65 or older with limited income and a limited net worth or assets. Your net worth includes your and your spouse’s annual income and assets, which you must report on your application for pension benefits from the VA. The 2022 asset limit to qualify for a VA pension is $138,489.
- Free or Low-Cost Medical Care: The VA is required by law to provide eligible veterans with necessary hospital and outpatient care. The VA deems care to be necessary if it “ill promote, preserve, and restore health,” including treatments, procedures, supplies, or services. How quickly you will be enrolled in health care benefits and what your costs will be (if any) is determined by your priority group, which will be assigned to you upon your application. The highest priority is given to veterans with disabilities, but this does not mean that those without disabilities will not receive health care benefits.
- Education Programs: Many education and training benefits offered to veterans fall under the umbrella of the “GI Bill.” Within the GI Bill are many specific programs to pay tuition at colleges, universities, and technical and trade schools; reimbursement for licensing and certification costs; reimbursement for the costs of national testing programs such as SAT, CLEP, AP, and others; flight training; correspondence training, work-study programs; and others.
- Housing and Home Loan Guarantees: VA home loans are available from private lenders to qualifying veterans with small or no down payments, no need for private mortgage insurance, reduced interest rates, and no cap on the amount of the mortgage. This is a lifetime benefit and can be used an unlimited number of times for qualifying veterans.
- Job training: The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) program is an independent agency within the Department of Labor that was created to help veterans make the transition from military to civilian life. The program can help veterans train for and find good jobs and protect the employment and reemployment rights of veterans, Reservists, and National Guard Members.
- Small Businesses and Business Loans through the Small Business Administration: VA is required to place a portion of its contracts and purchases with small and disadvantaged businesses, as are all federal agencies. This can benefit veteran-owned small businesses. VA contracting offices are also encouraged by VAto include veteran-owned contractors in bid-solicitation mailings. The U.S Small Business Administration recently implemented a new measure to help get small business loans into the hands of veterans, as well. Upfront fees have been waived for veterans applying through the SBA Express Loan Program.
- Counseling: For any veteran or active-duty servicemember, including guard or reserve members, who served in any combat theater, experienced military sexual trauma, provided direct medical care or mortuary services, served as a member of an unmanned aerial vehicle crew that provided direct support to combat operation or is a Vietnam-era veteran who accessed care at a Vet Center prior to January 1, 2004, readjustment counseling is available. Bereavement counseling is also available for family members of service members lost while on active duty.
- Burials and Memorials: The Department of Veterans Affairs can provide many funeral and burial benefits for deceased veterans, including a free headstone, a monetary burial allowance, a burial flag, burial in a VA cemetery, a Presidential memorial certificate, and other benefits, depending on the individual circumstances of the deceased service member.
Many veterans make the mistake of thinking that because they are not disabled by a service-related injury, they have no right to veterans benefits. Nothing could be further from the truth. You served your country and sacrificed to protect the American way of life. You deserve benefits, whether or not you are disabled.
I Was Denied Veterans Disability Benefits. How Can Krause Law Help?
Veterans’ claims are often unjustly denied by the VA. If you applied for Veterans Disability Compensation, you need to contact Krause Law right away. You only have one year from the date on the denial letter to appeal the decision, and it can take time to compile the documentation necessary to reverse the VA’s decision. Attorney Benjamin Krause has dealt with hundreds of disability denial appeals, and he will help you through every step of the process.
The first step in filing your appeal is to fill out and submit a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with the regional office that denied you. There is no form for this, so you can write a letter or use a Statement in Support of Claim form. In your NOD, you need to do the following:
- State that you disagree with the VA’sdecision.
- Keep your comments general and do not list specific reasons, as getting too specific can slow down your appeal.
- State that this is a formal appeal.
- Mention the date of the denial letter.
- Use the specific terms Notice of Disagreement and NOD.
- State that you disagree with all decisions listed in the denial letter and ratings decision. Do not get into specifics.
- Sign the NOD and make a copy to keep.
- Send your NOD by certified mail to the regional office that denied your claim.
Once the NOD has been filed, you will have the option of choosing a decision review officer (DRO) appeal with or without a hearing at your VA regional office or a direct appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA).
Appealing to the BVA is a much longer process, as the VA must issue a Statement of the Case, giving a detailed explanation of the VA’s decision. This can take a very long time.
A DRO appeal moves much faster than a BVA appeal. An additional benefit of the DRO appeal is that if the DRO denies you again, you can still take your case to the Board of Veterans Appeals after you receive notice of the DRO denial.
Regardless of which appeals process you choose, it is in your best interest to hire a skilled veterans claims attorney with a focus on the practice of servicing veterans. Each step in the appeals process is complex and must be completed precisely to have success. A mistake at any point in the process can derail your efforts to receive disability benefits. Attorney Benjamin Krause is here to help.
Is it a Good Idea to Consult with a Veterans Benefits Attorney Before I Apply?
Getting the assistance of a skilled and experienced veterans benefits lawyer like Benjamin Krause can make all the difference in whether you get the veterans benefits you need and deserve and how long the process takes. The smart thing to do is to call Krause Law before you even begin your application. This way, you have the benefit of professional legal help to ensure that no mistakes are made, application forms are complete, and eligibility requirements are met the first time you apply. If you apply for veterans benefits on your own and are denied, you will have to go through a lengthy and complicated appeals process to have your application reconsidered. All of the time you spent filling out that initial application will have been time wasted, and going back and correcting mistakes can be costly.
Consulting a knowledgeable veterans benefits attorney before your application can save you time, money, and headaches. Doing it right the first time is a lot less complicated and time-consuming than trying to go back and get the VA to change its mind once it has issued a decision in your case. Government agencies move very slowly, and the VA is no exception. If you receive a denial of benefits, you will have already waited a long time for a decision. Having to appeal that decision means you will have to wait even longer. This may mean that you have to go without the benefits you truly need to support yourself and your family for an unreasonable amount of time, during which you may be unable to pay bills, get the health care you need, or secure safe and suitable housing. That is simply not acceptable. You have sacrificed to serve your country. Let us help you get the compensation you have earned.
Why is Krause Law the Right Choice for Me?
Attorney Benjamin Krause served in the United States Air Force in Special Operations Command and Air Mobility Command. In addition to his military service, Krause has a long history of aggressively fighting for veterans’ rights to benefits. Krause fought for years against the bureaucratic backlog within VA. After getting fed up with the system, he chose to attend law school to bring the fight back to the doorstep of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
While in law school, Benjamin Krause advocated for veterans in Washington, DC, through Veterans For Common Sense, serving as the organization’s Assistant Director for Policy Advocacy. Mr. Krause graduated with high honors from the University of Minnesota, which was ranked by the Journal of Legal Education as the top law school in the nation for interdisciplinary impact.
In 2013, Krause won the Top 25 Veterans Voice Award. Today, Benjamin Krause is ready to use his voice to get you the veterans benefits you have earned.
Krause law firm has a singular focus to be a legal advocate for those individuals who serve and have served this great country. Veterans law is what we do, and we do it well.
You have served your country. Now let Krause law serve you. We will listen to the details of your situation, give you our best legal advice, and help you through every step of the process involved in getting you the benefits you have been promised.
Call Krause Law., PLLC at (612) 888-9567 to speak with a fellow veteran and dedicated VA attorney Benjamin Krause to start receiving the benefits you deserve.