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Washington Veterans (VA) Disability and Benefits Lawyer

The reason why the US Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) exists is to serve former military servicemembers like you when they need help back in civilian life. This dedication to serve you, always important, becomes essential when you leave the service with a disability. 

Most of the time, when you need to make a claim for service-related disabilities, the VA will be there for you.

But not all the time. The truth is the VA rejects about one-third of the initial claims it receives from veterans. 

The reasons why the VA will decline a benefits claim vary. But what our VA disability claims attorneys at Stone Rose Law know from experience is that many common claims rejections are avoidable if you have the help of a qualified VA claims and benefits lawyer from the start.

We Serve Washington Veterans Like You With VA Claims and Appeals

Washington is home to more than 450,000 veterans. Per capita, Washington’s veteran population is about seven percent of the state population, slightly higher than the national average of six percent.

Within Washington’s veteran population, almost one-third suffer from one or more disabilities. Given the often harsh conditions of military service, not surprisingly, the rate of Washington veterans who have disabilities is twice that of the state’s population as a whole.

If you are a disabled Washington state veteran, at Stone Rose Law, we serve veterans like you with free assistance in preparing, filing, and tracking your initial or supplemental VA benefits claim. This is not just a free initial consultation. We help you from start to finish at no cost to you. It is one small way we can say, “Thank you” for your service to our country.

And if the VA has already rejected your benefits claim, for any reason, we can help you to appeal that decision––again, with no upfront legal bill or ongoing legal fees to you.

Call us today at (480) 498-8998 to discuss your VA claim for benefits.

Who Is the VA?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) is a federal agency that manages the system of benefits available to US active duty military veterans. When you apply for VA medical treatment or for monthly compensation for a service-connected disability, you will be dealing with VA representatives throughout the process.

Sometimes, applying for VA benefits goes smoothly. But too many other times, problems can develop, starting with preparing your claim and possibly continuing into how the VA reviews it. 

Common Veteran Injuries and Disabilities

The veterans we serve experience the full range of disabilities that you expect from the hazards of military life. Here are some of the ones we see most often in Washington state:

  • Hearing loss and tinnitus
  • Breathing problems
  • Permanent loss of mobility
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries/paralysis
  • Back strain
  • Knee injuries
  • Burns
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Amputations
  • Nerve damage
  • Chronic pain
  • Mental health conditions

All of these injuries and conditions, and many others, can qualify you for Washington VA disability benefits. 

VA Disability Benefits: Rate Amounts for 2024

VA disability benefits provide financial compensation if you have suffered an injury or disabling medical condition while serving in the military or if your military service made an existing injury or condition worse.

The VA calculates the amounts of these benefits using a special equation that establishes your disability percentage, from 0 percent (non-compensable) to total disability at 100 percent. 

This percentage figure is your VA disability rating

VA Disability Ratings

Although it may seem strange that the VA would assign a zero percent VA disability rating to you, there is a reason why this rating exists. Even though a zero percent disability does not qualify for monthly VA disability compensation, it can still make you eligible to receive other valuable VA benefits, including medical benefits, mental health counseling, and even VA home loan eligibility.

How the VA calculates your disability rating can be a complex topic. Many factors go into determining your rating, including whether, like most veterans who file VA benefit claims, you have multiple disabilities. 

The VA calculates a combined disability rating using a formula that is informally known as, “VA math.” Meaning, your combined disability rating does not add up as a sum of your individual disability ratings but usually comes out to a little less than that. 

Our VA Disability Calculator can help you estimate how much you may receive in monthly disability payments if you have multiple disabilities.

The amount of VA disability benefits you can receive 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 VA lawyers can help you prove the extent and degree of your disability to achieve the amount of disability compensation that you need.

VA Disability Benefits You Can Receive 

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 could qualify for the following kinds of VA assistance.

Monthly Disability Compensation

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

Monthly Disability Compensation Amounts for Washington Veterans

Next, the VA matches your disability to a benefit amount that is based on the rates for the current year. 

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 disabled veterans with dependents. 

VA Monthly Benefit Compensation Increases for 2024

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

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 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 multiple special VA veteran benefits you might be eligible for. For example:

  • 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. 

A Stone Rose Washington 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%, you can still receive other veterans health services the VA offers through the VA healthcare system.

How to File a VA Disability Claim in Washington

The VA offers several ways for Washington disabled veterans to file for VA disability claims benefits. 

The easiest way is to file online. But you can also submit an application to your local VA Regional Benefit Office by mail, fax, or in person. 

No matter how you submit your benefits claim to the VA, to receive disability compensation you must prove three things: that you qualify as an eligible veteran, that you have a current disability, and that this current disability has a connection to your military service.

Who Is an Eligible Veteran?

The VA decision on whether you are an eligible veteran takes into account multiple factors. The main things the VA will look at are your dates of active duty service to make sure they fall within a recognized time period, along with your military records like your DD-214.

Most of the time, this proof of service is all you need. But there are a few automatic disqualifiers. For example, if you received a dishonorable discharge, or in some cases an other-than-honorable discharge, these can keep you from receiving disability benefits if you cannot resolve them favorably.

What Is a Disability?

A disability is a current physical or mental illness or impairment that your active duty military service either caused or made worse.

VA benefits are meant to compensate you to the extent that your service-connected disability renders you less than 100% able-bodied today. Usually, the best way to show a disability is to provide medical records showing your ongoing treatment for it.

What Is a Service Connection?

Proving a service connection is one of the basic requirements to qualify for disability compensation. Your current disability symptoms must relate to one or more disabling events that happened to you while you were a military service member. 

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. 

Although some medical conditions do not require you to prove a connection to military service—these are known as presumed disabilities—most require you to prove a service connection.

The VA rejects many veterans disability claims because they lack sufficient evidence to create a service connection. One of our Washington VA disability attorneys at Stone Rose Law can help you to gather all the documents and other forms of support you need to clear this potential obstacle to your benefits claim approval. 

Other Ways to Satisfy the Service Connection Requirement

Below are some specific kinds of medical conditions that the VA will consider in addition to disabilities that arose directly because of a service-connected disabling event.

Latent Conditions

A latent condition is a medical condition that you have when you enter military service, but which has not yet become disabling. 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 qualify for disability benefits even though your service activity was not the original cause of your condition.

Secondary Source Conditions

Another way you can receive a service-connected disability is if it comes from a different disability that is service-connected. 

For example, your doctor might 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 instance, although your diabetic condition arose after your discharge and is not itself a symptom of PTSD, you could 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 a VA denial of 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 disorder, these are acts that the VA will conclude have no connection with your military service.

Prepare Your Initial Benefits Claim With a Stone Rose Disability Lawyer

At Stone Rose Law, our Washington VA disability lawyers begin with a systematic and methodical approach to your specific VA claim. After consultation with an accredited VA disability benefits attorney, our attorneys will––with your permission––obtain a copy of your VA claims file. Because our attorneys have access to the same systems the VA uses to maintain claims files, we can get your claims file very quickly.

Once we have access to your claims file, we do a thorough and comprehensive review of everything contained in it. That means we review all your service treatment records, your VA records, any previous claims for benefits, and any rating decisions. We thoroughly scour the record to look for:

  • Any improper denials.
  • Any instances of under-rating.
  • Any claims the VA may have missed.
  • Any potential new claims.
  • Any issues ripe for appeal.

After reviewing your file and creating a plan for your initial claim, we will then discuss with you our findings and recommendations.

If you have never applied for VA benefits before, then we will assist you at no cost to you in preparing and filing a claim. We will monitor your claim, assist you with preparing for C&P examinations, and advise you of any VA decisions as part of this free service.

Compensation and Pension Examinations

Part of your VA eligibility evaluation can take the form of a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Examination. This is an examination the VA schedules for you to meet with a VA claims examiner. 

Not every benefits claim will receive a request for a C&P exam. The VA requests them when it needs more information about your disability and to help it to assign a disability rating to it.

Our attorneys have experience working with medical doctors, psychologists, and vocational examiners to obtain favorable opinions. Many times, C&P examiners contracted by the VA are not qualified, don’t listen to the veteran’s symptoms, or render medically unsupported opinions. In these cases, our attorneys have the experience necessary to combat these harmful examinations and to counter them with better medical evidence.

Common Errors in VA Disability Claims

VA denials of initial application claims come from two fundamental sources: problems with the claim, like insufficient evidence to establish the existence of the disability or its service connection, and mistakes the VA can make when it is considering your claim.

Some of the most common problems we see in Washington VA benefit claims include:

  • VA raters overlooking evidence supporting your claim.
  • VA raters improperly applying VA regulations when assessing your claim.
  • C&P examiners who do not provide you with an adequate examination.
  • Claims that do not provide enough evidence for a grant of benefits.
  • Veterans who fail to attend C&P examinations.
  • Claims that do not establish a proper service connection.

How to Appeal a Veterans Disability Denial in Washington

When it comes to making a disability appeal, you have three options to challenge an initial VA decision:

  • You can submit a supplemental claim supported by new and relevant evidence.
  • You can submit a request for a higher-level review by a more senior claims adjudicator.
  • You can appeal to the Board of Veterans Affairs.

Appealing to the Board comes with its own set of choices and options. These include:

  • Direct review by a Veterans Law Judge.
  • Submitting additional evidence. 
  • A hearing before a Veterans Law Judge.

To present a compelling appeal to a denied veterans disability claim, it is extremely important for you to have a thorough understanding of VA regulations and procedures, how the VA applies them, and the time limit you must work within. This is what a Stone Rose disability claim denial lawyer will do for you.

Appealing a claim denial is something that we strongly recommend you do with the extensive experience of a Stone Rose Washington VA claims appeal attorney on your side. One of our experienced veterans appeals attorneys at Stone Rose Law can guide you through the veterans disability appeal process until the matter is finally resolved.

Our expert veterans attorneys at Stone Rose Law are VA disability claim advocates. They have many years of experience in helping Washington clients with their VA appeals, they understand veterans disability law, and they know how the VA application or appeal process works. 

A Stone Rose 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 to represent veterans 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 our law office to represent you in your VA claim, you can be confident that your VA disability lawyer will have the experience, competence, and resources to aggressively fight for your claim throughout the VA appeals process.

If we are unable to 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. 

Request a Free Consultation With Our Washington VA Disability Attorneys Today

Going up against the Department of Veterans Affairs is never easy, but it is not unwinnable, either.

You have the best chance of winning a VA disability benefits appeal with legal help from a VA disability advocate. 

At Stone Rose Law, our legal team of Washington veterans benefits lawyers are dedicated to representing veteran service members with disability claims like you so you can receive disability benefits you deserve for your service-connected disabilities. We have a proven track record of successfully representing many Washington veterans with service-related federal benefits claims.

We have the ability to help you prove that your injury or medical condition is connected to your time in service or that your disability has worsened since the time you first started receiving veterans disability benefits. 

We know how to collect and present compelling medical evidence needed to make the most persuasive case in support of your VA claim.

Contact us today to discuss how our law firm and our veterans lawyers can help you with your veterans claim or appeal. 

Schedule a free case consultation with a Washington veterans benefits lawyer at (480) 498-8998, or contact us online, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.