Can a Disabled Veteran Receive SSDI?

Can a Disabled Veteran Receive SSDI?

Can a Disabled Veteran Receive SSDI? Disabled veterans can receive SSDI benefits. An award of VA disability benefits won’t prevent you from also receiving SSDI benefits. However, there are differences between qualifying for these types of benefits.

Disabled Veterans:  SSDI vs. VA disability benefits

SSDI requires that your medical conditions prevent you from working for at least 12 months.  SSDI doesn’t distinguish between partial or total disability.  Unlike SSDI, VA disability benefits don’t require total disability.  In fact, most veterans who receive VA compensation do not receive a total disability rating. 

How do disabled veterans qualify for SSDI? 

To qualify for SSDI, you must have worked a certain number of years and earned enough work credits.  You receive work credits each year that you work and pay taxes.  At most, you can earn four work credits per year.  Generally, you need a total of 20 work credits to qualify for SSDI.  However, there are some age exceptions.  If you are younger, you may qualify for SSDI with fewer credits. 

SSDI financial requirements for disabled veterans

As mentioned, SSDI requires that you earn a certain amount of work credits to qualify.  Therefore, there are no limits to the amount of assets, cash or other resources you own.  For example, VA disability benefits will not keep you from receiving SSDI benefits.  Additionally, they will not reduce your SSDI benefits. 

Working disabled veterans

Since Social Security defines disability as the inability to work, if you are working, you may not qualify for SSDI.  Social Security considers work earnings over a certain amount “substantial gainful activity” or SGA.  If you earn over the SGA limit, you will not qualify for SSDI.  In 2020, earnings S1, 260 per month or (before taxes) are considered SGA.  If you are working part-time and earning less than SGA, you may still qualify for SSDI.  However, any work may make it harder for Social Security to approve your claim. 

Medical requirements for disabled veterans

First, Social Security considers whether your medical conditions fall under their listing of impairments, known as the Blue Book.  Typically, the Blue Book requires that your medical conditions meet very specific requirements.  If you don’t meet the listings, Social Security considers your residual functional capacity or RFC.  An RFC includes both physical and mental limitations.  Social Security looks at your medical evidence to determine your RFC.  They can also consider the opinions of your doctors. 

Medical evidence for disabled veterans

Your medical evidence should include records only for the period of time that you became disabled and unable to work.  Your treatment should also be continuous and ongoing.  The VA and Department of Defense (DOD) share medical records electronically with Social Security.  Medical evidence can include:

  • Treatment notes and physical examinations
  • Imaging such as MRIs, x-rays, CT scans or nerve testing
  • Blood work or biopsy results
  • Pulmonary tests
  • Mental health records

Disabled veterans and your age

Social Security has special disability rules the older you are.  They look at a chart known as the Medical-Vocational guidelines to evaluate your claim called the “grid rules.”  The grid rules make it easier for older people to win their case.  Social Security considers your age, education and work background.  The older you are, the easier it can be to win your case. 

Example 1: applying the grid rules for disabled veterans

For example, Michael, a 57 year veteran, applied for disability due to back pain.  He previously worked as janitor, receives disability compensation related to a back injury.  He has trouble standing and walking, needs a cane.  His medical records include MRIs and x-rays of his back documenting his impairment.  His doctors have also documented that he has pain and limited motion of his back.  Social Security found that he could not return to work as a janitor.  Since he is over the age of 55, the grid rules allow Social Security to approve his claim. 

Does my VA approval help improve my chances receiving SSDI?

Generally, your VA approval will not help you get SSDI.  Social Security will consider any evidence that the VA used when making their decision.  Social Security may also use VA or DOD evidence to expedite SSDI claims for Wounded Warriors or veterans with a 100% disability compensation rating.  Similarly, the VA may not give Social Security’s decision much weight.  Usually, Social Security’s decision can be unclear whether the disability is based on service-connected or non-service disability.  However, the VA is required to consider your Social Security records. 

Does active duty affect eligibility for SSDI?

Active duty status or receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily prevent you from receiving SSDI.  Since you can’t receive SSDI if you are engaging in SGA, Social Security evaluates your work activity to figure out your eligibility.  You can apply while in a rehabilitation program or attending outpatient programs regardless of whether your treatment is in a VA hospital or civilian facility.   If you are on limited duty or working in a designated therapy program, you should definitely apply for SSDI. 

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Make sure you start your claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation.

VA Benefits Appeal

VA Benefits Appeal

VA Benefits Appeal. To win a VA disability claim, a veteran must prove all elements.  Generally, VA will approve a VA benefits claim when a veteran proves the following:

  1. In-service event, disease or injury,
  2. Current disability, and
  3. Medical nexus between the in-service event and the current disability.

After you submit your claim, VA is obligated to issue a decision.  Based on the evidence, VA may decide to approve your claim completely.  Alternatively, VA may either deny the claim outright, or grant your benefits at a low disability rating.  Regardless, veterans have the right to appeal any VA benefits decision to a higher authority.

What is the point of an appeal?

VA decision-makers are not perfect.  They often make mistakes.  For a disabled veteran who is barely making ends meet, VA’s mistakes can be costly.  This is why Congress created the appeals system.  It gives veterans a fighting chance to correct VA’s mistakes without losing years of benefits.

VA benefits appeals are great because they preserve the earliest effective dates.  Take the example of J. Stone, who filed a claim for PTSD in 2011.  VA denied his claim in 2013 because they could not confirm the traumatic in-service event.  His friends told him to just file another claim.  Instead, he consulted the experts at Disability Help Group (DHG). 

A DHG representative helped him file an appeal along with evidence of the in-service event.  In 2015, VA decided the appeal in Mr. Stone’s favor.  As a result, he received a 70% rating effective 2011, the date he filed his claim.  He received

Appeals in the Legacy System

The Legacy system refers to the VA appeals structure for decisions issued prior to February 19, 2019.  When VA first denies a claim in Legacy, the veteran may appeal with a Notice of Disagreement (NOD).  The deadline to file a legacy NOD is 1 year from the date of the decision. 

When you file a timely NOD, you are asking a senior VA officer to overrule the previous decision.  If the VA agrees with you, then it will issue a new decision awarding benefits.  If not, VA will issue a Statement of the Case (SOC) to explain why the previous decision should stand.

Fortunately, an SOC is not the end of the road.  Using a VA Form 9, you can appeal an SOC to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (the Board).  Unlike the lower decision, you have only 60 days to appeal an SOC.  A VA Form 9 is a request for a Veterans Law Judge to take a fresh look at your case.   If the judge finds in your favor, he/she will award benefits effective the date you first filed.  If the judge finds against you, then you can appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims.

The Appeals Modernization Act changed everything

Any decisions issued on or after February 19, 2019 fall within the Appeals Modernization Act (AMA).  If VA denies your claim, or approves it with a very low rating, you can appeal it by filing one of these forms:

  • VA Form 20-0995 Supplemental Claim, 20-0996 Request for Higher Level Review, or 10182 Notice of Disagreement to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals

Each lane has its pros and cons.  Visit this link for more details [Link to the AMA article].

What’s the downside of an appeal?

First, a VA benefits appeal can take a very long time.  Take a look at the search results when you Google “VA appeals backlog.”  Prior to the AMA, VA took an average of 2.5 years to process appeals. 

Second, you may have to appeal several times to get the job done.  If your first appeal is not successful, then you should appeal to a higher tribunal (like the Board of Veterans’ Appeals).  When you believe in your claim, you should never give up.  Don’t let VA win.

Hire an expert to give yourself the best chance to win

Every VA benefits appeal is different.  The best indicator of success is having an experienced representative.  This is a very complex system.  Most veterans are not equipped to force VA to change a decision.  Some cases already have the evidence needed to win, but are lacking a good legal argument.  Other cases lack both evidence and argument.  An experienced representative can plug the holes in your case. 

At DHG, our experts review each case with a fine-toothed comb.  This is how we figure out the best path forward.  We don’t just file a VA benefits appeal and then wait around for VA to act.  Instead, we actively develop winning evidence and arguments to deliver for our clients.

Do you need help with your VA benefits appeal?  Contact the experts at DHG for a free consultation.

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Make sure you start your claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation.

Get Help Now

Call, 1-800-700-0652

Because memory deficits are common VA TBI residuals, a veteran should always have an advocate. Disability Help Group specializes in TBI cases and is here to answer your questions now.

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VA Disability Remand

VA Disability Remand

VA Disability Remand. After a veteran applies for VA benefits, VA must decide to either

  1. Grant the claim, or
  2. Deny the claim.

Following a VA decision, the veteran has the right to appeal.  If the first appeal fails, a veteran can request review by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (the Board).

In addition to the first 2 decision options (to grant or to deny), the Board may decide to remand.  When the Board issues a remand, it is ordering the VA Regional Office to take specific action to develop the claim.  Unfortunately, most of VA’s appeals backlog involves remands. 

For many veterans, it takes longer than 2 years for VA to issue a new decision after a Board remand.  For most veterans, the goal is to turn a remand into a grant.  That is exactly what we do here at Disability Help Group.  Keep reading for more information on VA Disability Remands.

Which VA agencies are involved?

VA Disability Remands involve a maze of different decision-makers.  To understand VA Disability Remands, one should first understand the different agencies involved.

  • VA Regional Offices.  Claims start at the Regional Office level.  There are 57 Regional Offices, most of which are based in the United States.At this level, VA Rating Specialists usually decide the claims.  If the Rating Specialist denies the claim or grants it with an inappropriate rating, the veteran can file an appeal.  More experienced VA decision-makers, such as Decision Review Officers, usually process these appeals.
  • Board of Veterans’ Appeals.If the first appeal is unsuccessful, then the veteran has the right to appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The Board, which is based in Washington, D.C., is a superior tribunal of VA law judges.  The Board reviews appeals of decisions issued by the Regional Offices.  At this level, VA law judges (instead of local bureaucrats) make the decisions.

What is a Remand?

Put simply, a remand is an order from a superior agency to a lower one.  The lower agency has no choice; it must comply with the remand order.  In the VA disability system, the most common type is a remand from the Board to the Regional Office. 

While it is not a final decision, a Board remand is binding on the Regional Office.

Why would the Board issue a Remand instead of a Grant or Denial?

There are 3 main reasons:

  1. The Regional Office did a really bad job.  Often, the Regional Office fails to meet its duty to assist veterans in accordance with the law.  They may have failed to provide a medical exam, misinterpreted a regulation, or ignored favorable evidence.  Because of these failures, the claim lacks evidence the Board could rely on to grant.  To addressthese failures, the Board uses remands to spell out how the Regional Office can make up for them.  After the Regional Office complies with the Remand, it must issue a new decision. 
  2. New evidence is introduced.  Let’s say the Regional Office denied a PTSD claim because there was no medical nexus.  During an appeal to the Board, the veteran submitted a private medical nexus opinion.  Because the Board is strictly an appellate tribunal, it cannot consider new evidence in the first instance.  In this situation, the Board must remand the case for the Regional Office to consider the new nexus opinion.
  3. Your disability gets much worse.  In an appeal involving a request for a higher rating, the disability may get worse while the veteran waits for the Board’s decision.  The Board is likely to remand for a new VA medical exam if that last exam was over 2 years ago.  Rather than rely on an old exam, the Board may order a new one that reflects the current disability.

What are the Pros and Cons of a Board Remand?


  • As a matter of law, veterans have the right to compliance with the Board’s remand order.  This means that the Regional Office cannot ignore the order and issue another denial.
  • It preserves the earliest effective date for the claim.  For example, let’s say a veteran filed a claim in February 2012.  He appealed his case all the way to the Board, which issued a remand order in December 2019.  If the Regional Office grants the case on remand, then the benefits will be effective February 2012.


  • Board remands represent the largest backlog of appeals at most Regional Offices.  VA is slow to process them.
  • If the Regional Office issues a decision on remand without complying with the Board’s order, then the Board will likely remand the case again.  This could drag the case out even longer.


An experienced representative can make all the difference.  Take the example of W.F., a DHG client who served in the Marine Corps.

In October 2012, he filed a claim for multiple orthopedic disabilities.  In June of 2013, VA denied his claim for lack of a medical nexus.  Although he met the criteria, VA failed to provide a medical exam.  On his own, he appealed his case all the way to the Board.  While he waited for a decision, W.F. submitted new evidence from his private doctor.  In October 2017, the Board remanded his case with the following instructions to the Regional Office:

  • Associate the new medical evidence with the file,
  • Schedule the veteran for a VA medical exam, and
  • Re-adjudicate the claim.

Shortly after the remand order, W.F. hired DHG.  First, we regularly urged the Regional Office to comply with the remand.  Next, we developed a private medical opinion to satisfy the medical nexus element.  As a result, the Regional Office granted the claim in full effective October 2012.

Do you need help with your VA disability remand?  The experts at DHG are ready to help.  Call for a free consultation.

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Make sure you start your claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation.

Get Help Now

Call, 1-800-700-0652

Because memory deficits are common VA TBI residuals, a veteran should always have an advocate. Disability Help Group specializes in TBI cases and is here to answer your questions now.

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What is the Appeals Modernization Act?

What is the Appeals Modernization Act?

What is the Appeals Modernization Act?

The Appeals Modernization Act has reduced the average time to receive a VA disability decision. Older claims typically took 3-7 years to receive a decision. In order to address this issue, Congress passed the VA Appeals Modernization Act in 2017.  On February 19, 2019, VA officially implemented this new law.  As a result, VA’s new goal is to complete claims and appeals in an average of 125 days.  This reflects VA’s renewed focus to deliver timely decisions to veterans and their survivors.

The VA Disability Claims Process Applying the Appeals Modernization Act

Filing an Original VA Disability Claim

The Appeals Modernization Act applies if you have already applied for VA Disability Benefits. Therefore, if you are filing an Original Claim it will not apply at the time of filing.  If you never filed a VA claim before, then you’ll need to file an Original claim.  Per VA rules, you can only file an original claim using a VA Form 21-526EZ.  The form asks for your Social Security number, dates of active duty service, branch of service, and other biographical information.  Most importantly, you must briefly explain why your claimed disability is related to your active duty service. 

Filing a VA Disability Supplemental Claim

When VA denies a claim, it must explain why.  VA has always had this duty.  However, the Appeals Modernization Act has enhanced this duty in the veteran’s favor.  As of February 19, 2019, VA must explain to the veteran which elements he successfully proved.  With that knowledge, a veteran should focus on getting evidence for the unproven element(s).  This New and Relevant evidence could change VA’s mind.  A veteran who obtains such evidence should submit it to VA with a Supplemental Claim.

Take the example of Joe Smith

Joe served in the Coast Guard for 3 years.  In 1991, he filed an Original claim for PTSD.  In a 1993 decision, VA denied the claim because there was no current diagnosis of PTSD.  Joe was so discouraged by this decision that he did not file an appeal.  During a 2019 visit to the local VA hospital, doctors diagnosed Joe with PTSD.  Unsure of what to do, Joe contacted DHG for a free consultation.  The experts at DHG agreed to represent him in a Supplemental Claim.  DHG filed a completed VA Form 20-0995 on Joe’s behalf, along with a copy of the current diagnosis.  Four months later, VA granted his PTSD claim at a 70% rating.

Appeals Modernization Act: Filing a Higher Level Review

This path improves on the Decision Review Officer (DRO) lane from the legacy system.  The main difference is that if the claimant requests a telephonic hearing in Higher Level Review, VA must grant it.  In the DRO lane, VA could reject a request for a telephonic hearing for any reason.  Thanks to the Appeals Modernization Act, VA cannot delay your right to a hearing.

Sometimes, VA denies a claim even though it has evidence to satisfy all 3 elements.  Either VA overlooked evidence, or it misunderstood the law it applied to the case.  In either scenario, it’s not that the veteran failed to prove his case.  VA just made a mistake.  If VA’s decision is infected by that kind of mistake, then your best bet is to file a Request for Higher Level Review.  This path involves an experienced VA adjudicator checking a Rating Decision for errors.  This adjudicator may issue a revised Rating Decision that corrects these errors.  And it does not require new evidence.

Appeals Modernization Act, but with slightly different facts 

In this example, assume Joe filed an Original claim for PTSD in 1991.  He filed the claim with a copy of a 1991 PTSD diagnosis and his service treatment records, which showed an in-service diagnosis related to a combat incident.  In a 1993 decision, VA conceded all other elements were met except the diagnosis.  Joe became discouraged and gave up.  Years later, he asked a DHG rep to review his case.  The DHG rep noticed that VA overlooked the 1991 PTSD diagnosis.  DHG immediately filed a Request for Higher Level Review on VA Form 20-0996.  DHG also attached a two-page argument that explained the legal errors.  Five months later, VA issued a revised Rating Decision that granted his PTSD claim effective 1991. This is the benefit of the Appeals Modernization Act.

Filing a Notice of Disagreement to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA), using Appeals Modernization Act

What do you do if VA denied your Original Claim, Supplemental Claim, and Request for Higher Level Review?  Your next option is go over their heads to the Board of Veterans Appeals.  VA Form 10182 gives you 3 lanes:

  1. Direct,
  2. Evidence, and
  3. Hearing

The Direct lane is for cases where all evidence and legal argument is already in VA’s records.  The Evidence lane gives you 90 days to provide additional evidence.  The Hearing lane gives you the right to make your case directly to a Veterans Law Judge.  In the Hearing lane, you also have 90 days after the hearing to submit additional evidence.

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Allow us to help you win the most money you can receive in the faster manner possible. You may be entitled to significant compensation that you were not even aware of.  Contact us now for a free consultation, 800-700-0652.

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Should I Hire a VA Disability Lawyer?

Should I Hire a VA Disability Lawyer?

Should I Hire a VA Disability Lawyer?

You should hire a VA disability lawyer, especially from With a budget over $217 billion, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is one of the largest federal agencies.  VA’s disability benefit program was intended to be veteran-friendly.  However, for most veterans, applying for VA benefits is a long and frustrating process.  A veteran who represents himself is at a huge disadvantage.  There are hundreds of rules and regulations about the veteran’s rights and VA’s duties.  The process becomes even tougher when VA sends mixed messages, requests information it already has, or issues a decision that completely ignores the evidence.

Do You Have the Expertise?

Most veterans have not studied VA disability law.  Even fewer veterans follow the Federal court cases that change the law every year.  But without that knowledge, many VA claims are doomed to fail.  A VA Disability Attorney’s knowledge and experience can make all the difference.  Specifically, an attorney, especially the professionals from, can determine exactly how to turn a loss into a win. 

Who Needs a VA Disability Lawyer?

Beeman Heifner Benge – Personal Injury Lawyers says that in this fight, a veteran needs someone who is aiming for the same target.  That’s why many of our clients left previous arrangements. Before hiring DHG, many of our veteran clients did not have a VA disability attorney.  Some represented themselves.  They learned very quickly that VA didn’t share the same urgency and had a different result in mind.  Others were represented by a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) such as DAV or American Legion.  Because they work out of VA facilities, there is a perceived conflict of interest.  Does a VSO work for VA or the veteran? 

What is a VA Disability Lawyer’s Role?

Your VA disability claim is too important to risk.  When you hire a VA Disability Attorney, you’re hiring your own specialist to get the job done.  Most of them work for a contingency fee.  They don’t get paid unless they win past-due benefits for the veteran.  And because the contingency fee is usually a fixed 20%, the attorney has every incentive to win the largest possible award.  Plus, the attorney-client relationship ensures he/she is on your side.  Both you and the attorney would be aiming at the same target.

An experienced VA Disability Attorney knows VA’s written and unwritten rules has the knowledge to prepare a game plan to best achieve your objective.  Working together with your attorney, you have a better chance to hit your target.

When Should I Hire a VA Disability Lawyer?

Immediately!  The earlier you can prove your case the faster you can receive your VA disability benefits. In addition, the VA Disability Lawyer will be able to analyze your disability onset date and make sure you receive the maximum back benefits, according to an experience elder abuse law firm Chicago. Generally, a veteran must prove the following to win a VA disability claim:

  1. Current diagnosis,
  2. In-service event, disease or injury, and
  3. Medical nexus between the first 2 elements.

If you don’t have a medical diagnosis, then you need to see your doctor.  Only licensed medical professionals can diagnose medical conditions.  Attorneys cannot do so.  However, if VA denies your claim for any of these reasons, you should probably hire a VA Disability Lawyer:

  • Negative medical nexus (“less likely than not”),
  • No documented proof of in-service event, disease or injury, , or
  • VA ignored evidence proving all 3 elements.

Which VA Disability Lawyer Should I Hire?

VA Accreditation

Only attorneys who have been accredited by VA can represent veterans in disability cases, as a result, VA holds Disability Lawyers to a high ethical standard.  Accreditation reflects VA’s standard for responsible, qualified representation of this nation’s veterans.  A searchable database of VA accredited attorneys, claims agents and VSOs is available here.


Experience makes a world of difference. Since 1993, the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates (NOVA) has been the leading organization for training and support of VA Accredited representatives. At Disability Help Group, our representatives are long-standing NOVA members. You know what you are looking for, the has all details you need and you can choose your lawyer easily.

Speak to The Lawyer

There are many firms out there that you never get to speak with the attorney. At Disability Help Group our representative will talk to you and be your main contact during your entire case. When you hire an attorney you should ask: 

  1. When will I get to speak with my lawyer?
  2. Who will be my main point of contact?
  3. How many cases has my lawyer won?

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Has VA ever denied your case?  You may be entitled to significant compensation.  Contact us now for a free consultation.

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Can I Get TDIU for Blue Water Agent Orange?

Can I Get TDIU for Blue Water Agent Orange?

Starting, January 1, 2020, veterans can get TDIU for Blue Water Agent Orange Exposure.

Blue Water update

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military used herbicides such as Agent Orange to clear trees and plants.  Unfortunately, herbicide exposure has caused a myriad of health problems to Vietnam veterans.  By passing the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the government conceded a relationship between herbicide exposure and 14 medical conditions.  However, VA interpreted the law to exclude Blue Water veterans of the Vietnam War.  Veterans advocates have sought an update ever since.

For over 20 years after the Agent Orange Act, VA split disabled Vietnam veterans into 2 distinct groups:

  1. Those who either set foot in Vietnam or served on boats patrolling inland waterways (also known as “Brown Water”), and
  2. Those who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam (also known as “Blue Water” veterans).

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, Agent Orange Exposure

This all changed on January 1, 2020, when the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 took effect.  For the first time, Blue Water veterans are entitled to the same presumptions as those who served inland.  In addition, Blue Water veterans who could not support themselves due to Agent Orange exposure now have a path to TDIU.

What is TDIU, Exactly?

TDIU is a special benefit for veterans who cannot support themselves due to service-connected disabilities.  To qualify, a veteran must meet certain requirements.  First, a veteran must prove that he cannot earn a living because of service-connected disabilities.  Second, those disabilities must meet the percentage requirements.  If the veteran has only one service-connected disability, it must be rated 60% or higher.  If the veteran has more than one service-connected disability, then at least one must be rated 40% or higher.  Also, there must be “sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating” to 70% or higher.  38 C.F.R. § 4.16(a).  These rules apply regardless of whether the disabilities are due to Blue Water Agent Orange Exposure.

TDIU – Total disability and individual unemployability

Also known as Unemployability, TDIU pays the same monthly amount as a 100% disability rating.  Under 2019 rates, VA will pay TDIU recipients a minimum of $3,057.13 per month tax free.  Before you can get TDIU for Blue Water Agent Orange exposure, you have to have a qualifying disability at a high enough rating.

Agent Orange is not a disability in of itself

Agent Orange exposure is not a disability in of itself; it causes disabilities.  If you don’t have a diagnosed disability yet, then any VA claim would be premature.  If you suspect you have a disability, then ask your doctor to confirm.

  1. Chronic B-cell leukemia,
  2. Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  3. Multiple myeloma,
  4. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  5. Prostate cancer,
  6. Respiratory cancers, including lung cancer,
  7. Soft tissue sarcomas,
  8. Amyloid light-chain (AL amyloidosis),
  9. Chloracne,
  10. Diabetes mellitus type 2,
  11. Ischemic heart disease,
  12. Parkinson’s disease,
  13. Peripheral neuropathy, and
  14. Porphyria cutanea tarda.

By law, VA can only assign up to a 30% rating for chloracne and Parkinson’s disease.  For the 12 other conditions, VA may assign ratings of 60% or higher if the symptoms are severe enough. 

A few examples of how VA would decide TDIU claims based on Blue Water Agent Orange exposure:

Case Study 1: VA 100% blue water agent orange exposure

A Blue Water Vietnam veteran served on the USS Intrepid CVS-11 during the applicable time period.  About 25 years after service, his doctor diagnosed him with congestive heart failure.  As a result of the congestive heart failure, the veteran was forced to stop working.  The veteran filed a claim for TDIU and congestive heart failure secondary to Agent Orange Exposure.  Because congestive heart failure fits the definition of ischemic heart disease, VA would likely grant a 100% rating.  VA would then declare TDIU moot because it pays the same as a 100% rating.

Case Study 2: TDIU blue water agent orange exposure

A Vietnam-era Navy veteran served on the USS Bronstein DE-1037 during the period.  About 15 years after service, he developed chronic b-cell leukemia.  As a result, he stopped working and hired a full-time home healthcare aide.  He filed a claim for TDIU and b-cell leukemia secondary to Blue Water Agent Orange exposure.  Here, VA would either grant the leukemia at 100% or grant TDIU.

Case Study 3: TDIU blue water agent orange exposure

A Vietnam-era Navy vet served on the USS Ajax AR-6.  Due to peripheral neuropathy in both legs (rated 20% each) and residuals of prostate cancer (rated at 60%), he was forced to retire at 46 years old.  His combined rating is 70% overall.  The day after his retirement, he files a claim for TDIU.  Because he meets all the criteria, VA would likely grant TDIU effective the last day he worked.

What If VA Denied My Claim?

Keep fighting!  After fighting for over 20 years, Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans are finally eligible for the same presumptions as those who served inland.  VA’s previous denial does not necessarily mean that you don’t deserve benefits.  VA may have misunderstood the law or overlooked evidence.  Alternatively, you might need just one more piece of evidence to complete the puzzle.  VA’s complex rules can make any veteran’s head spin.  But the experts at Disability Help Group can guide you through the process. 

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Has VA ever denied your Agent Orange exposure claim because you are a Blue Water Navy veteran?  You may be entitled to significant compensation.  Contact us now for a free consultation.

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