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San Diego Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability and Benefits Lawyer

Sometimes, making a veterans disability benefits compensation claim in California can be fairly simple. As long as you have the time and the patience to navigate VA laws and regulations, find out what you need to do, gather all the right forms, and follow all their instructions, the VA benefits system does not require you to have a veterans benefits lawyer to help you. 

On other occasions, however, problems can occur during the claim process that can make it harder to receive what you deserve for your service-related disability. Problems with your application can delay your receiving the disability compensation you need. In a worst-case situation, the VA might deny your California benefits claim altogether.

This is when you can use the services of a Stone Rose Law San Diego VA disability lawyer to help you with your claim, starting with a free case evaluation.

Call us at (480) 498-8998 to get a free consultation or contact us online to talk with a VA disability lawyer today about your California VA claims.

See below how our expert San Diego VA disability attorneys can help you with your disability claims or claim denial appeal.

Helping you prepare the strongest possible claim if you live in California, or to present the strongest possible appeal if the VA denies your claim, is how a Stone Rose Law San Diego VA disability attorney can provide you with effective legal assistance. 

How to Qualify for VA Benefits in San Diego, California

To be eligible for all applicable VA disability benefits in San Diego or anywhere else in California, you must meet the following three requirements:

1. You must be a qualified military service veteran

The VA defines who a veteran is through factors like how long you served in the military, the time period of your service, and the nature of your service discharge. 

Generally, as long as you honorably completed your term of active duty service, or received a medical discharge, then you should qualify as a benefits-eligible California veteran service member.

2. You must be currently experiencing a disability 

You must have medical evidence to show that you are presently suffering from a disability. The VA rates disabilities from 0 to 100 percent. Your doctor, mental health counselor, or other qualified medical professional will make this disability determination for you.

To receive monthly compensation for your disability, your VA disability rating must be at least 10 percent. You can still receive some healthcare assistance benefits through the VA with a 0 percent disability rating, including medical benefits and mental health counseling.

3. Your disability must be military service-connected

You must be able to prove that an event happened to you while you were serving that caused the disability. 

This is the key factor that the VA will evaluate. The VA often denies California disability claims because of questions about whether the underlying injury, illness, or condition happened during the veteran’s term of service or was related to what the servicemember was doing while in service.

How to qualify for VA benefits in san diego

Have You Suffered a Service-Connected Disability in the San Diego Area?

Sometimes, proving your disability has a service connection is easy.

For example, if during your military service something happens to you, like a training accident, or you are injured in battle, or exposed to hazardous substances, then tracing a direct service connection is simple. Your military personnel records and medical treatment records will likely supply the evidence you need.

In other situations, however, it can be less certain whether your disability is a service-connected one.

Latent Conditions

A latent condition is one you have when you enter military service, but which has not become disabling yet. If your latent condition worsens after you leave the service, then the VA will consider whether something happened to you while serving to aggravate it. 

If that is the case, then you may still be eligible for disability benefits even though your service activity was not the original cause of your condition.

Secondary Source Conditions

Another way you can experience a service-connected disability is if it arises from a separate disability that is service-connected. 

For example, your doctor could diagnose you as having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after leaving the service based on a traumatic event you experienced while in service. If your PTSD treatment includes drugs that have a side effect of contributing to significant weight gain, this additional weight could ultimately lead to you being diagnosed later on with Type 2 Diabetes. 

In this situation, even though your diabetic condition arose after your discharge and is not itself a symptom of PTSD, you might still be able to trace a secondary service connection by showing that the PTSD treatment caused your diabetes.

Non-Service-Connected Disabling Events

Another factor the VA will evaluate is if your disability is related to your military service. If your injury, illness, or disabling condition comes from doing something that has nothing to do with a service connected condition, this can lead to the VA denying your claim. 

For example, if you are injured during the commission of a crime, or your injury is the result of an untreated substance abuse behavior, these are acts that the VA will conclude have no connection with your military service.

Proving a service connection to your disability is something that the VA considers on a case-by-case basis. Your service medical records will be part of the claims evidence the VA will consider, along with any records of post-service medical treatment you have received. 

The VA declines many California veterans’ disability claims because claims lack enough proof to establish a service connection. A San Diego VA disability lawyer, like one of our VA disability attorneys at Stone Rose Law, will help you to gather all the documents and other forms of support you need to clear this potential obstacle to your benefits claim approval. 

VA Disability Benefits You Can Receive in San Diego, California

If the VA approves your disability benefits claim, then depending on the nature and extent of your disabilities—most military veterans who have service-connected disabilities have more than one—you might qualify for the following kinds of VA assistance.

Monthly disability compensation

These are payments the VA makes to you. How much you receive in monthly benefits will depend on your combined disability rating. The higher your disability rating, the more you are entitled to receive.

Spousal and dependent benefits 

If you have a spouse, dependent children, or one or both parents who depend on you to take care of them, then you can receive additional compensation benefits for them in the form of Special Monthly Compensation for aid and attendance services they perform.

Survivor benefits

In some situations, your dependents can continue to receive monthly payment VA benefits after you pass on These benefits include coverage of burial costs and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC benefits) for your surviving family members.

Special circumstance benefits 

There are several kinds of special VA veteran benefits you might be eligible for. 

  • Depending on your individual needs, you may be able to receive additional VA benefits like compensation if you cannot find or keep substantially gainful employment, or compensation for costs if you need hospital or convalescent care.
  • In other situations, the VA can provide allowances for transportation and clothing. 

These are only some of the special benefits the VA offers.

A San Diego veterans disability attorney can help you to learn which ones may apply to you.

Healthcare treatment benefits 

The VA supports veterans with more than compensation amounts. 

As we mentioned above, even if your disability rating is 0 percent, you can still receive other Veterans’ health services the VA offers through the Pennsylvania VA healthcare system.

VA Benefits Compensation Levels

The VA determines benefit amounts using a combined disability rating, which is calculated to account for many kinds of common medical conditions. 

These ratings range from 0 to 100 percent disability.

At 0 percent, you will not be eligible for monthly benefits, but you may still qualify for veterans’ healthcare assistance and other benefits. 

As of 2024, the pay rates for VA disability benefits are:

  • 100 percent: $3,737.85
  • 90 percent: $2,241.91
  • 80 percent: $1,995.01
  • 70 percent: $1,716.28
  • 60 percent: $1,361.88
  • 50 percent: $1,075.16
  • 40 percent: $755.28
  • 30 percent: $524.31
  • 20 percent: $338.49
  • 10 percent: $171.23

These monthly payments increase for California disabled veterans with dependents. 

For 2024, the VA has approved a 3.2 percent cost of living increase for the above disability payments. This is the same cost of living increase as for Social Security disability benefits

How much you can receive in VA disability benefits depends on your specific circumstances. You can use our VA Disability Calculator to get an estimate of what your disability benefit amounts can be.

One of our Stone Rose Law San Diego VA lawyers can help you prove the extent and degree of your disability to achieve the amount of disability compensation that you need.

VA benefits compensation levels in 2024 estimated

How Veterans Disability Denials in San Diego, California Can Happen

Meeting the requirements to make a VA disability benefits claim can be simple in concept but difficult in practice. The VA is a large federal bureaucracy, and sometimes the VA benefit claims process does not go smoothly.

Every year, the VA denies about one-third of California benefit claim applications it receives. These claim denials are often because of mistakes veterans make when completing their benefits application packages. 

Here are some of the common claim application errors the VA sees in initial applications:

  • Not providing enough documentary evidence to support the claim, including medical records evidence.
  • Not providing a specific-enough medical diagnosis to support a claim.
  • Completing only part of an application form, or not filing a required additional form.
  • Not going to scheduled medical examinations, or missing document filing deadlines.
Common VA disability claim pitfalls

During your free consultation with us, one of our San Diego Stone Rose VA disability attorneys will thoroughly explain the legal requirements with you to make sure your application for VA disability benefits gives the VA everything it needs to reach a favorable result for you. Your initial application will have all the required documentation. It will be complete in its proof of your disability, thoroughly present your case in detail, and be free of errors that could delay processing of your application. 

Our legal team makes it easy for the VA employees who decide on your claim to decide favorably for you, because we give them everything they need to do so. This is the difference you can make for yourself by letting our San Diego VA disability veteran attorneys help you with filing a claim or making an appeal. 

Your dedicated Stone Rose San Diego disability attorney will make sure your initial application makes the best case for you and does not inadvertently sabotage your claim with avoidable mistakes.

Best of all, we do many of our disability claim application services in a free case evaluation (see below).

The Veteran Appeals Process: When the VA Denies Your Disability Benefits Claim 

If the VA denies your initial benefit claim or benefit adjustment claim, it could mean that someone at the VA has made a mistake. 

For example, your exam reports can be overlooked, or someone can assign you the wrong disability rating for the severity of your condition. 

And sometimes, you can find yourself in a frustrating debate over whether your disability is service-connected.

In cases like these, the appeals process of arguing your case by yourself before an administrative law judge, like making a claim through the Board of Veterans Appeals, can be time consuming, frustrating, and bewildering at the same time. 

Presenting a compelling appeal to a denied veterans disability claim requires a thorough understanding of VA regulations and procedures, and how the VA applies them. This is what a Stone Rose San Diego disability claim denial lawyer will do for you.

Our expert veterans attorneys at Stone Rose Law are VA disability claim advocates. They have many years of experience in helping veterans like you with their VA appeals, and they know how the VA appeals process works. 

A Stone Rose San Diego veterans disability lawyer will know what goes into making the strongest and most persuasive possible appeal on your behalf, so you do not have to.

Our law firm is accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs. We are admitted to practice VA disability law before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. When you hire us to represent you, you can be certain that your disability appeals lawyer will be experienced, highly competent, and aggressive throughout the VA appeals process.

If we win your appeal, we only charge a reasonable, one-time contingency fee from your award from the VA. 

If we do not win your appeal, then you owe us nothing. 

Do You Need Help with Your San Diego VA Disability Claim?

At Stone Rose Law, we are VA disability advocates for veterans disability claims in San Diego and everywhere else in the state of California. We are board-certified VA claims lawyers who serve on behalf of California veterans.

Our San Diego veterans lawyers provide extremely professional legal representation to military veterans, helping them receive all the veterans disability benefits they are entitled to. 

A Stone Rose disability lawyer can help you prepare your disability claim, monitor your claim status and consult with you before disability examinations—all for free

If the VA denies your benefits claim, our VA benefits law firm will assign a VA disability appeals lawyer to help you pursue a VA appeal with the Board of Veterans Appeals while providing free representation on a contingency fee basis. 

This means you won’t pay your VA lawyer any fees unless we win your case. 

Our San Diego veterans disability attorneys give you affordable, high-quality veterans appeals legal help. We represent veterans and their VA claims throughout California.

For more information about how one of our VA disability lawyers can help you with your VA disability compensation claim or appeal, request a free consultation at (480) 498-8998. Or, if you prefer, you can reach us online to ask a question about veterans law, veterans disability benefits, or to set an appointment with one of our veterans lawyers for a free case evaluation. 

Our San Diego disability lawyers represent clients with VA initial claims, supplemental claims, and denied VA disability appeals in California. We help veterans who seek assistance no matter where in the state they live.

If you are making an original claim or a supplemental claim, appealing a denied claim, or making any other kind of VA benefits claim, there is no reason why you should face the VA alone. Let us assist you with your claim, or fight for you on appeal.

Contact our San Diego office today for a free initial consultation or a free case review with a San Diego veterans disability lawyer, and get started with your VA claim or your VA court appeal.