David's interview - Questions about Vets for Full Representation
Hear David answer questions about:
- The lost constitutional right that a veteran faces when seeking to file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Why Vets for Full Representation was formed and why it is needed.
- The legal representation issue that veterans face because of the restrictions the VA has placed on legal counsel help.
- What is meant by veterans should not be routinely thrown under the bus.
- Why David believes that helping a veteran with a issue on appeal is unconstitutional.
When a veteran receives service connection for one or more disabilities and the rating was not timely appealed; a veteran can file for service connection for worsening condition. In order for a veteran to maximize his benefits, any service connected claims the veteran is receiving that have worsened need to be addressed.
When a veteran files a claim, one reason he needs to file all claims if because of VA math. 5 – 10’s = 40%; 50+40+10=60; 50 and two 10’s =60. Look at and refer to the VA website about further information concerning VA math. When any possible issues are not addressed by the VA; VA math might not work in the veteran’s favor.
A veteran can be paid at the 100 percent rate and become Permanent and Total as a result of Individual Unemployability if he is unemployed as a result of his service connected disabilities with one disability rated at 40% with a combined rating of 70%; or with one disability rated at 60% if the disability causes the veteran to be unemployable. The veterans service connected claims must be the cause of the veteran being unemployable. Therefore the veteran needs to adjudicate all of his claims in order for the VA to find in his favor for the issue of Individual Unemployability.
Although Veterans Affairs states the adjudicating of claims take about 8- 9 months; the adjudicating of claims are known to take 2-3 years at times. A veteran should not have to wait 2-3 years in order to choose the type of representation he desires or needs. Multiple paths of claims being adjudicated complicate and delay this process even further.
The body is made up of different parts. When one part is not working it affects other parts. Another part of one’s body that is affected by a service connected disability is called a secondary claim. Overuse of the left arm affects the right arm; a knee injury can affect the back and cause sciatica down the legs. High blood pressure can affect the heart or cause a stroke. In order for a veteran to be where he wants to be, all secondary issues need to be addressed.
At any time during the process, the VA can propose a reduction of benefits. The veteran may need good representation concerning the adequacy of the compensation examination in question, or obtain a medical or psychological opinion in order to oppose the opinion of the VA examiner. A reduction of benefits usually results in financial hardship for the veteran.
When a veteran receives 100 percent compensation, it does not mean the veteran is permanent and total. There are additional benefits that are provided when a veteran becomes permanent and total such as waiver of life insurance policy, medical and educational benefits for dependents, dental benefits, and commissary benefits at military bases, etc. Therefore it is necessary to continue a veteran’s claim until after a veteran is paid at the 100 percent rate until he is considered permanent and total.
Although presumptive diseases are a given when a veteran applies, the presumptive disease is not necessarily permanent and total. When a veteran receives 100 percent for cancer, for example, the cancer is not necessarily permanent and total. The veteran may face a reduction in the future when the cancer goes into remission. The reduction needs to be minimized by maximizing the residuals caused by the treatment for the cancer. At the same time, other issues need to be aggressively pursued in order to maintain a permanent and total status. An interruption of any period of 100 percent permanent and total status could affect the veteran’s eligibility to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits as well as causing financial hardship.
There are times veterans receive overpayments because of unreported drill pay, severance pay, miscalculation of the approbation of funds by the VA or failure to report after a veteran receives a Social Security decision when a veteran is receiving non-service connected pension. The veteran’s representative needs to guide the veteran into avoiding overpayment issues and be ready to assist the veteran when an overpayment issue occurs.