If you’re a military veteran, you have rights over the benefits provided for you by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs. These benefits include compensation for service-related disabilities, veterans pension program, disability housing grants, housebound allowance, and many more.
Unfortunately, the Veterans Affairs (VA) denies a lot of claims, which makes the recovery of benefits a stressful battle for the veterans. So, hiring a veterans benefits lawyer becomes a beneficial option.
Finding the right lawyer for your claims is never easy. On top of everything, you need to make sure you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge about what they can do to help you. And to do this, you can list down some questions that can guide you toward making a selection.
Here are the three questions you need to ask a veterans benefits lawyer:
How Can You Help Me With My Claims?
As mentioned, claiming for veterans disability benefits with the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs can be a challenging task. Unless you’re equipped with the Veterans Benefits Law, you probably need the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in this field to help you.
To have a better understanding of how they can serve you, you can ask them about the different ways they can be beneficial to your situation.
For instance, a dedicated veterans benefits lawyer can help you in the following manner:
- Legal Advice – If you have questions about your VA claims, your lawyer will not hesitate to give legal advice and options. They will also help you decide which course of action to take to ensure the success of your benefits claim.
- Thorough Legal Research – To make sure the government will not deny your claim, your legal counsel will conduct thorough research of the Veterans Benefits laws and relevant cases to support your claims. With many legal cases and precedents that influence the way VA claims are evaluated, they know exactly how important it is to do careful research about this specialized field of law.
- Paperwork Filing – Dealing with the government means there’s a lot of paperwork to do. With a lawyer on your side, you can make sure that the submission of claims and other documents to the VA office are made correctly and without hassle.
- Evidence Collection – This kind of work usually applies to VA disability benefits whereby your lawyer will gather and present pieces of evidence to the VA to increase your chances of winning your claim.
- Appeals – If your claim gets initially denied, the veterans benefits lawyer will maximize the best strategies to get appeals filed efficiently. They are experts at writing appeals briefs and other related documents that can help win your case in the higher court.
What Accreditations or Certifications Do You Have?
Asking this question is essential because accreditations or certifications can tell how credible the veterans benefits lawyer is. Besides, you never want your claims to be handled by illegal or uncertified legal professionals. So, it’s best to check their reputation before committing to any of them.
Below are some of the accreditations or certifications your lawyer is affiliated with:
- American Bar Association Membership – Before talking to a prospective lawyer, make sure they are an active member of the American Bar Association (ABA). In many states, membership with this association is mandatory since it regulates the legal profession and conducts activities, such as public forums, to enhance their legal knowledge and skills. Also, if you’re a member of a state bar association like ABA, you have the legal authority to practice law within the jurisdiction of the United States.
- Veterans Affairs Accreditation – The VA requires all lawyers working on veterans disability benefits claims to get accreditation from their office. For them to qualify, they need to submit a VA form supported with a certificate of good standing coming from all state bars, courts, and other state agencies. Also, they have to complete three hours of continuing legal education credits on veterans affairs topics. Once accredited, they can now handle VA claims by presenting the VA form along with the client’s claim.
- Membership in National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, Inc. (NOVA) – NOVA is a non-profit national organization of attorneys who work as advocates for disabled veterans. They provide conferences and other forums to help members serve their clients better by giving the benefits they deserve. Thus, if you’re going to hire a veterans benefits lawyer, choose the one with NOVA membership or certification.
How Much Do You Charge For Your Legal Services?
Of course, when finding a veterans benefits lawyer, you should also ask about how much they would charge you for handling your claims with the VA office. In most cases, you only pay the lawyer if the Veterans Affairs Office will grant your veterans benefits claim. This means that if your claim is denied, you have nothing to pay regardless of the extent of the legal services rendered.
Moreover, for the payment of fees, most lawyers specializing in veterans benefits law charge more or less 20% back pay. Instead of getting the amount from your own pocket, the VA office will give the fee straight to your lawyer.
In addition to fees, your lawyer might hire experts to improve your chances of winning your claims. But just like the regular fees, these hiring costs are only paid if your application is successful. Also, reports provided by experts don’t typically cost that much, so there’s nothing to worry about these expenses.
Due to this setup, make sure to ask the lawyer about their fees before working with them. If they require you to pay their fees upfront, it can be an indication that you should find another option. Remember, when it comes to veterans disability benefits, fees are paid on a contingency basis. If you win, your lawyer will get something from the settlement.
Indeed, the process of filing a benefits claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can be tedious and time-consuming. Therefore, if you’re a military veteran seeking to receive their benefits, it’ll be wise to work with a dedicated lawyer who knows how to handle veterans benefits claims.
Hopefully, the questions listed above will help you find a competent lawyer who can give you legal advice when it comes to filing for a benefits claim from the Veterans Affairs Office. Also, with these questions in place, you’ll successfully claim your rightful benefits as a military veteran of the United States.