Jan Dils Veteran Disability

VA Disability Percentages...by the numbers

I’ll be honest with you; I really hate numbers. I’ve never been great with math, and figuring out percentages for me requires the use of an online tool. On the other hand, the VA must really love numbers because every aspect of a disability claim has numbers attached to it in some manner. For instance, you have 365 days to appeal your first decision, or the rating on your knee is determined by a range of motion. The most important number of course is your disability percentage. Most Veterans fresh out of the service, or those who have simply never applied before, aren’t aware that VA...

Simple questions to consider when you are curious about PTSD

We are excited to welcome special guest blogger Julia McLaughlin, M.A. to our blog. Enjoy her first post: Curious if you have PTSD? Here are some quick questions to consider! Sometimes it is difficult to tease out the facts.  Information is abundant, but not all of it is correct.  When it comes to practically understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it is important to know facts from fiction. This is your life.  You have to figure out whether the incidents in your past are truly impacting your present, and impeding your future.  You are responsible to determine whether or not you are...

Joint Pain and Your VA Disability Claim

So many of our Veterans are unaware of what disabilities they can actually apply for through the VA. Granted, it’s not the fault of the Veteran, but rather the overall lack of information being provided to them. I found this was the case early in my tenure working for our firm. When discussing Gulf War presumptive conditions I tend to sound like a late night add for muscle cream: “Do you have joint pain, headaches, or fatigue…if you answered yes to any of these questions than you may be eligible for Gulf War presumptive conditions.” The answer is usually yes, however, I always ask the follow...

When Your Back Pay Comes Before Your Decision

I really like planning things out. In fact, I can say that I love logistics more than UPS. I like having control over when things happen, and try very hard to make everything go smoothly. A psychiatrist would likely say that something occurred when I was young that makes me have an opposition to uncertainty, but I feel this is very normal behavior. If something unexpected comes up, I get severe anxiety. Why am I telling you this story? Well, I am trying to show that I can relate to you when the following happens. A Veteran will often call us and explain that he received several thousand...

How Can I Tell if I'm a Combat Veteran?

Most of the topics for this blog come from my interactions with real Veterans, and the questions they ask. Unlike Alex Trebek, I don’t have all of the answers, and occasionally I have to look them up. That was the case today when speaking with a Veteran about combat. His question was: "What exactly makes anyone a combat Veteran?" Some may be quick to say that serving in combat makes you a combat Veteran, but there is more to it than that. The VA lists several different ways in which a Veteran can prove he or she was in combat. ·         If you received a combat service medal, then you are...

Do I pay taxes on VA Disability Compensation?

It’s the end of January, and that means two things. Well actually it can mean an infinite number of things to several people, but for the purpose of this blog, it means two things. The first thing it means is that the Super Bowl is coming up, and two, it means that tax season is starting. If you are like me, you are looking forward to getting a tax refund. Also, if you are like me, taxes as a whole make less sense than Mark Wahlberg being offered movie roles. What can I deduct? What is the right form, and I can I say that string cheese is a business expense? In fact, I am so repulsed by tax...

Coast Guard Veterans and VA Disability Compensation

I have friends who have served in the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, as well as the National Guard, but I have no acquaintances who have served in the Coast Guard. It is perhaps due to the fact that I am hundreds of miles from any ocean, or maybe it’s my personality. This really bums me out because I find the Coast Guard to be fascinating. In honor of the Coast Guard’s birthday, and it also being my own birthday today, I’ve decided to write about the Coast Guard. (Note: As I am sure someone will point out, the Coast Guard actually dates back to August of 1790. However, January 28th is the...

Is It Veterans Affairs or Veterans Administration?

I used to own a Mercury Sable. It is the mechanical twin/clone of the Ford Taurus. They are essentially the same car, but they have different names and logos. Whenever I had it worked on, or went to purchase a part for it, (it was not a reliable car by any means,) the individuals who worked at these places would call it a Ford Taurus. For some reason that always angered me. I would shout back: “It’s a Mercury Sable!” This would of course lead to some awkward looks from other patrons. Why was it important to me? Well, for one, not all Taurus parts will fit a Sable, but, more importantly, I’m a...

No Need to "Call Saul," VA Back Pay Is Not a Settlement

I’m often inspired to write a blog because of something I hear from a coworker talking to one of our Veterans. For instance, I just overheard Rhonda, our VA Team Leader/Appeals Clerk, explaining to someone that his back pay is not a settlement. This reminded me that not everyone uses legal terms correctly. I thought I’d shed a little light on the difference between back pay, and a settlement. When we think of the term attorney, most of us will think of a lawsuit. In fact, a lot of people might conjure up images of Saul from “Breaking Bad.” In reality, what we do has nothing in common with...

Dogs may help Veterans with PTSD

Treatment for PTSD can come in many forms. I often speak to Veterans who are involved in group counseling, outpatient treatment, and many other traditional types of treatment. While working (ok, playing) on Facebook yesterday, I noticed a post by the Fayetteville VAMC that reminded me of a non-traditional method I had forgotten about…pet therapy. Granted, I am one of the 5 people in the world who doesn’t like animals, but I believe in this type of rehabilitation. I decided to do a little research on this topic, and was surprised to find information on the VA website. According to the VA, Some...

Tips for a Successful VA Claim in 2014

It’s a new year! And while many people are making resolutions they won’t keep, here are some helpful things you can do to help your VA Disability Case in 2014. Seek Treatment-As I have stated so many times in the past, one of the best things you can do to help your case is to seek treatment. Regardless if it is rehabilitation for a physical condition, going to group counseling for a mental disability, or even taking medication, treatment will help. Something a lot of Vets forget is that you need to continue to seek treatment once a claim is filed. I know this is not fun. I personally don’t...

OEF/OIF Veterans among the highest unemployed

The main reason I write for this blog, and have worked so hard on it for the past two years, is that I want to get quality information to Veterans. I hate to sound like a corrupt mp3 file (broken record for our older readers,) but there is a ton of misinformation circulating about VA Disability benefits. I find that there are a lot of programs out there that Veterans aren’t aware of, and we are going to talk about one of the big ones today, Individual Unemployability. It is often referred to as IU, and Google will think that you misspelled “employability,” if you search for it. While there are...

Are Sailors and Airmen eligible for Gulf War Illness?

Gulf War Illness is an issue affecting a lot of Veterans. As we stated before, the VA has a list of presumptive conditions in which Veterans, who served in specific areas, can service connect. Headaches, Joint Pain, Fatigue, and several other issues, are on this list. When discussing Gulf War Illness, many people think of Marines and Soldiers as the Veterans affected by it, but are Sailors and Airmen affected too? Granted, if you stepped foot on any of the countries listed in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations, you are eligible for the presumptive conditions. This is often...

How to guarantee your VA claim is approved…seek treatment

Ok, in reality there is no way to 100% guarantee your claim gets approved. You could have video evidence of your injury as well as hand written buddy statements from 30 Marines, The Secretary of Defense, and God, and the VA would still find a way to deny your claim. However, your VA claim is a lot more likely to get approved if you seek treatment. Let’s look into to this topic a little deeper. Heather, our lead VA attorney, was discussing chronic issues recently, and we asked her to go into a little more detail. Heather explained that in order to get service connected for most physical...

I don't want to wait...for my claim to be over: The truth about filing multiple VA Claims

One thing I try to do when talking to all of our new clients is to refrain from getting emotional. This isn’t always easy. It is especially difficult when A Veteran tells me that someone gave them false information. One of these situations occurred a few months ago. The Veteran I was speaking to served in Desert Storm, and was quite pleasant. He told me he only had one claim pending for his shoulder. After talking to him in more detail, he stated that he wanted to pursue PTSD, several GWI issues, his back as well as his knees. I asked him why he hadn’t filed for those yet, and his response...