va benefits application

Case Spotlight – April 2023

Disability Law Group recently received a decision approving service-connected disability benefits for a veteran client from Wyoming, Michigan. He served in the Marine Corps for nearly a decade until June of 2020. He was medically discharged, in part, due to his mental health conditions he developed while serving numerous tours overseas, fighting to protect our country. Upon returning home, he filed for service-connected disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). His claimed conditions he was seeking compensation for ranged from physical conditions – including leg and ankle fractures he sustained in service – to his PTSD that he also developed from his experiences in service.

Unfortunately, battling for these VA benefits on his own proved to be stressful, overwhelming, and discouraging as he faced denial after denial for the benefits he deserved. His father, a previous client, referred him to Disability Law Group. He told him how helpful and caring the attorneys and staff were at Disability Law Group, and how they had helped him receive both his VA service-connected disability benefits, with a 100% Permanent and Total rating, and his Social Security Disability benefits. After his free consultation with Attorney Erika Riggs, he hired Disability Law Group and immediately felt relief from the burden of fighting alone for his benefits.

Mrs. Riggs and our team immediately got to work on their client’s case, discovering that the VA failed to issue a decision on the PTSD claim the veteran filed for. Instead, the VA approved a claim for ADHD at a 0% rating in an attempt to either bypass issuing a decision on the claimed mental health condition or to group the symptoms and conditions together. Either way, Attorney Riggs was not going to allow this to happen to her client, and she immediately got to work in setting-up appointments for nexus letters and DBQs for her client to help prove his case. Rather than waiting years for a decision from the Board on this clear issue, Erika presented this evidence to a decision review officer during a Higher Level Review conference she requested on behalf of her client.

Ultimately, the VA agreed with Erika’s argument that the VA not only failed their duty to develop the file, but also failed to adjudicate a claim raised by the veteran. The VA issued a decision granting service-connection for the veteran’s PTSD back to the time of his discharge. While these claims can be scary and frustrating, especially when dealing with the government on your own, know that you are not alone.

Whether you have a physical or mental health condition, or a combination of health problems, you do not have to go at the process alone. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do, and we will fight alongside our clients to help them win every penny that they deserve. Our Disability Attorneys are not only experts in the field of disability law, but we are certified to handle veterans disability claims. We are a team made-up of veterans, and we care about every client and every case. You can contact us today for your free consultation.

Author: Erika A. Riggs

Attorney Erika A. Riggs, a partner at Disability Law Group, is a renowned legal advocate and community leader. A graduate of Wayne State University Law School, Erika co-founded The 313 Project, a non-profit providing scholarships and pro-bono legal advice for at-risk youth. She actively contributes to community well-being as a board member and community activist, spearheading pro bono events and volunteer initiatives. Erika specializes in Social Security Disability and Veterans’ disability benefits. Recognized for her outstanding contributions, Erika has received accolades such as the ‘Oakland Together 40 Under 40’ Class of 2023, 2022 ABA On the Rise Top 40 Young Lawyer award, eight consecutive Avvo’s Client Choice awards, and the esteemed 2023 Rising Star award for the sixth consecutive year by Super Lawyers (extended to less than 2.5% of attorneys practicing in Michigan). Her multifaceted achievements showcase her commitment to excellence, community service, and advocacy for those in need.