Veteran with PTSD talking about his non-combat stressors.

June 2022 is PTSD Awareness Month!

June is PTSD Awareness Month and here at Disability Law Group, we are going to do everything we can to help spread awareness on this critical topic and help end the stigma surrounding treatment.

What is PTSD?

Let’s first dive into what PTSD is. PTSD is a mental health condition that is caused by exposure to life-threatening events. These include but are not limited to combat, car accidents, natural disasters, sexual assault, and other traumatic experiences. We understand that PTSD can affect everyone in different ways and that there are many treatment options and mechanisms to help cope and find relief that works differently depending on the situation.

Qualifications for Service-Connected PTSD Disability Benefits

If you are a veteran suffering from PTSD or know veteran suffering from PTSD, you could qualify for service-connected disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are certain requirements that must be met in order to qualify for these types of disability benefits from the VA. For example, the following criterion is evaluated for PTSD claims by the VA:

  1. A current diagnosis;
  2. A stressor (e.g. exposure to death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence);
  3. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one or more ways (e.g. nightmares, intrusive memories, flashbacks, etc.);
  4. Avoiding the above factors;
  5. Negative alterations in mood or cognition;
  6. Alterations in arousal and reactivity following the event; and
  7. The duration of the symptoms lasts more than one month, and symptoms are attributable to PTSD rather than substance use for example.

While the requirements may not seem extraordinarily rigorous, the VA routinely denies Veteran’s claims for service connection, even when the Veteran served in combat. In fact, even of those claims that are approved, the VA commonly fails to assess the appropriate percentage and effective date, which results in less money and benefit to the Veteran and their families.

Contact VA Disability Attorney

Fortunately, you are not alone. You can hire a VA Disability Attorney to help you fight and win the full benefits you deserve under the law. Our Veterans Benefits Attorneys are certified to handle VA benefits claims and we strictly specialize in disability law. Our consultations are always free. We will take a close look at your file and help you understand your rights. Give us a call or contact us online today to see how we can help you today.

VA Disability Attorney going over medical documents with client

How to Obtain VA Medical Records

You can request your Veterans Administration (VA) medical records online. Also, the VA offers several ways to get help or get answers to your questions. 

A Michigan VA Disability attorney can help you go after the disability benefits you deserve. Here is a quick overview of how to obtain VA medical records:

How to Get Your VA Medical Records Online

You can log in to see your VA medical records through any of these accounts:

  • DS Logon
  • My HealtheVet

If you do not already have one of these accounts, you can create a free account at or to start the process of getting your VA medical records.

When in the My HealtheVet website, you can use the VA Blue Button to see, download, print, and share your medical records. You can perform many different functions with the VA Blue Button if you are enrolled in the VA healthcare system and are a registered patient at a VA health facility. Also, you must have:

  • A verified or account or
  • A Premium DS Logon or My HealtheVet account

If you meet those qualifications, you will be able to click on the Health Records tab and access your Blue Button report, your health summary, and your medical images and reports. It does not cost anything for you to create one of these accounts.

If you think that your personal health record is incomplete, you can add information to it. Go to the blue navigation button at the top of the Health Records page and click Track Health. On the page that then opens, you can add things like your health history, vital signs, exercise habits, and other essential data.

Getting Your VA Medical Images and Reports

If you have a My HealtheVet Premium account and you are a VA patient, it is possible to go online and download your VA Medical Images and Reports. No more waiting for weeks to get your hands on the information and medical evidence you need. You will need to go into your VA electronic health record (EHR) and see which of your medical records are available for you to access and download.

A Premium My HealtheVet account gives you these options:

  • Access to your available VA Medical Images and Reports
  • You can then download those images and reports.
  • You are allowed to save, print, and copy your diagnostic images onto a compact disc (CD) to share at your option with your caregivers and healthcare providers who are outside of the VA system.

These features can speed up the process of applying for disability benefits and help you manage your healthcare services.

How to Get Additional Help with Getting Your VA Medical Records

You can call the My HealtheVet help desk if you have questions or need more information about obtaining your VA medical records. The help desk is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern time. The telephone number is (877) 327-0022 (TTY: 800-877-8339).

If you prefer to contact the VA My HealtheVet help desk online rather than by telephone, you could reach out to them on their web portal

Your Michigan VA Disability attorney can talk to you about your eligibility for disability benefits and handle your appeal if you were wrongly denied benefits or awarded too low an amount of benefits. Get in touch with our office today for a free consultation.

female veteran and attorney

Can a VA Disability Claim Be Garnished?

The short answer to the question of whether a person’s Veterans Administration (VA) disability benefits can be garnished is a qualification sometimes. When a veteran falls behind on paying child support or spousal support, the court or the state might issue an order to garnish the veteran’s VA benefits. Sometimes those benefits can get garnished, but not always.

A Michigan VA disability claims attorney can help you navigate the process of the attempted garnishments of VA benefits. Let’s explore the question, can a VA disability claim be garnished?

Who Gets to Decide if a Veteran’s VA Disability Benefits Can Be Garnished

You might think that the judge or the state administrative agency that issued the garnishment order would decide if a veteran’s VA disability benefits can get garnished and, if so, the amount to be garnished; but that is not the case. The VA, not the courts or the states, gets to determine if the particular veteran’s VA disability benefits can get garnished and, if so, how much garnishment is reasonable.

The General Rules of Garnishing VA Disability Benefits

Usually, one can only garnish the VA disability benefits of a veteran if the veteran waived military retired pay in order to get the VA disability benefits. If the veteran did waive a portion of it their military retired pay for that reason, they can only garnish the part of the veteran’s disability compensation that the veteran received in place of military retired pay. 

The other portion of the disability compensation cannot get garnished. Also, one cannot garnish the VA benefits at all if the veteran did not waive any military retired pay to receive VA benefits.

Factors the VA Uses to Determine How Much of the VA Disability Compensation Can Get Garnished

Determining the amount of the disability benefits that represent the retired military pay the veteran waived is only the first step in the process. The VA will analyze several additional factors to determine how much of the eligible VA disability compensation would be a reasonable garnishment. Usually, the VA only allows between 20 to 50% of a veteran’s VA disability benefits to get garnished. A higher amount would likely cause undue hardship to the veteran.

The VA will not garnish a veteran’s VA disability compensation for taxes, student loans, debts to creditors, or medical bills if the VA disability compensation is the veteran’s sole source of income. The VA will explore whether the veteran requires more income than the average person because of any special needs the veteran might have. 

The VA also examines extra expenses caused by special needs of the former spouse and children not in the custody of the veteran. The other income available to the veteran’s former spouse is an additional factor the VA will look into when determining the reasonableness of the garnishment request.

In some situations, the VA could refuse to enforce a garnishment order of VA disability benefits if the garnishment would cause the veteran undue financial hardship, or if:

  • The veteran’s former spouse was found guilty of infidelity by a state court.
  • The former spouse or child of the veteran has not filed for apportionment.
  • The ex-spouse of the veteran is living with another person with whom they have a romantic relationship.

The VA does not always review the criteria fully, sometimes resulting in improper garnishments. There are ways to demonstrate that you would meet an exception, precluding garnishment, especially if you can show it would be unreasonable or cause undue hardship. A Michigan VA Disability attorney can help you with your garnishment of VA disability benefits situation. You can contact our office today for legal assistance, we gladly offer a free consultation.

Veteran disability attorney sitting with veteran

2022 VA Disability Rates to Increase – What it Means for You

Congress increased VA disability compensation for 2022 by 5.9 percent, the same amount as the cost-of-living (COLA) increase for Social Security disability and retirement benefits. The purpose of COLA increases is to keep pace with the actual purchasing power of the American dollar. If Congress did not make these annual adjustments, your VA disability check would have less value over time. 

The cost-of-living adjustments only increase the amount of your VA disability pay. Congress does not reduce the amount of VA disability checks or Social Security benefits if the cost of living goes down. A Michigan Veteran Disability attorney can help you fight for the VA disability benefits you deserve. Here’s some more information about the 2022 VA disability rates to increase and what it means for you.

The New VA Disability Rates as of 2022

For the calendar year of 2022, a 100 percent disabled veteran with no spouse, children, or dependent parents will now receive VA disability benefits of $3,332.06 per month. If that same veteran has a dependent spouse, the 2022 monthly benefit will be $3,517.84. In that situation, the benefits can get increased by $170 a month for a spouse receiving Aid and Attendance.

A 100 percent disabled veteran with a dependent spouse and child can now receive $3,653.89 per month. Each additional child under the age of 18 in this situation can increase the monthly check by 92 dollars. Additional children over the age of 18 in a qualifying school program can increase the check by $198 per month.

An Overview of COLAs

Even when we are not officially in an inflationary period, the cost of living usually increases a little every year. Think of your groceries. A gallon of milk and a loaf of bread cost significantly more than they did 20 years ago. If your VA disability check never increased, over time, you could buy less and less with that check.

Every year, Congress determines how much the COLA will be for the following year. Congress votes in the fall on the COLA for the next year. The 2022 COLA increase actually went into effect on December 1, 2021.

There have only been three times in the last 20 years when there was no COLA increase: 2009, 2010, and 2015. For people receiving VA disability or Social Security checks in those years, their benefits remained the same until Congress voted the following year about the possibility of increases. The 2022 increase of 5.9 percent is the highest increase in the last 20 years, just edging out 2008, in which the increase was 5.8 percent. The lowest increase during that time was 0.3 percent in 2016.

You Might be Eligible for a Higher Disability Rating

Your disability rating is essential to the calculation of how much your monthly disability check will be. If your medical condition has worsened or you qualify under legislation that went into effect after your original VA disability rating, you might be eligible for a higher disability rating. 

A Michigan Veteran Disability attorney can talk to you and explore the possibility of going for a higher disability rating, which would increase your monthly VA disability check. Contact our office today for legal assistance, we offer a free consultation.

VA disability attorney and client

Documents a Veteran can Submit to Help Win their VA Disability Case

When you file for disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you will need to provide evidence that proves you qualify for that monthly check. The VA will obtain some of your records if you give them permission to do so, but it could be quicker if you send them the supporting documents directly.

Applying for VA disability benefits can be challenging and frustrating. Many people get denied on their first application. A Michigan VA Disability attorney can advocate for you and appeal an adverse decision or help you prepare your initial application.

Supporting Documents the VA Requires with Your Application for VA Disability Benefits

The VA requires specific documents from everyone who files for disability benefits. Regardless of the injury or illness for which you are seeking benefits, you will have to send in these items or authorize the VA to obtain them:

  • All medical evidence involving your injury or illness. For example, your hospital file, doctors’ records, imaging studies like x-rays or CAT scans, and results of other relevant medical tests.
  • Your DD214 or other documents concerning your separation from military service.
  • Records of your service treatment. 

Veterans who got discharged from the Army before 1961 or the Air Force before 1965 might have difficulty obtaining their records because of a massive fire at a record center in 1973. Your lawyer can help you file your claim if your records got destroyed in that event. 

Reasons You Might Need to Submit Evidence of Your Disability to the VA

There are five different situations in which you might need to submit a claim with supporting documentation to the VA proven your disability:

  1. Your original claim for disability benefits; in other words, the first time you file seeking benefits for a service-related injury or illness.
  2. An increased claim, which is a claim for a disability that got worse after the VA awarded you benefits.
  3. A new claim, in which you request additional benefits or other benefit requests in connection with your existing qualifying disability.
  4. A secondary service-related claim, which is a new disability claim that has a link to your existing service-related disability.
  5. A supplemental claim, in which you submit additional supporting documentation regarding a disability claim that the VA previously denied. 

The required evidence will depend on your type of claim and the facts of your situation. 

What Your Documents Need to Show to Win Your VA Disability Case

Your supporting documents will need to prove both of these factors to win your VA disability claim:

  • You experienced an illness, injury, or event during your military service that caused your disability. The illness, injury, or event must be service-connected.
  • You currently have a physical or mental disability. Put another way, something happened during your military service that caused damage to you physically or mentally. This damage prevents you from being gainfully employed or limits your ability to function and perform everyday tasks.

You do not have to battle the VA by yourself. A Michigan VA Disability attorney can handle your VA disability claim or appeal so that you can focus on your health and well-being. Contact our office today for legal assistance, we offer a free consultation.

Veteran meeting with attorney

Receiving VA Disability After Burn Pit Exposure

More than 3 million veterans could be eligible for Veterans Administration (VA) disability benefits if they developed a qualifying medical condition after being exposed to fumes from burn pits while serving in the Middle East. Veterans who served in that region as far back as the Gulf War could be eligible to collect compensation.

You will have to meet the VA’s criteria to receive disability benefits for a service-related medical condition. A Michigan VA Disability Attorney can answer your questions about eligibility for burn pit exposure compensation and advocate for you if the VA has denied your application for benefits.

Time Frame for Eligibility

The VA has expanded benefits eligibility to include veterans who served in:

  • The Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present time, or
  • The Middle East, including Syria, Djibouti, Afghanistan, or Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, beginning on September 19, 2001, to the present time.

Veterans whose claims are already pending will not have to do anything to update their applications until they receive the VA’s decision.

What Are Airborne Hazards as Related to Burn Pit Exposure?

The VA is especially concerned about military personnel who got exposed to smoke and fumes generated by open burn pits while on active duty. The government includes these things in their definition of airborne hazards during military service:

  • Open burn pit smoke and fumes
  • Oil well fire smoke
  • Dust, sand, and particulate matter
  • Fumes from fuel, aircraft exhaust, and other mechanical sources
  • General air pollution commonly present in some countries

The military disposed of trash and other waste material by using open-air burn pits. Most of these burn pits are now closed, and the Department of Defense plans to shut down all remaining burn pits.

What Got Disposed of in the Burn Pits?

The military burned many different types of waste in the open burn pits, including:

  • Food waste 
  • Trash composed of wood, rubber, and plastic
  • Cans made of aluminum and other metals
  • Human waste
  • Paint, chemicals, and medical waste
  • Petroleum and lubricant products
  • Munitions and unexploded ordinance

The smoke from burning these items could cause short-term medical conditions, like breathing difficulties, coughing, skin itching and rashes, or burning and irritation of the throat or eyes. Military personnel who had extended exposure to the burn pits or were closer to them could be at greater risk of developing longer-term health consequences.

Respiratory Health Conditions Associated with Burn Pit Exposure

The VA concluded that veterans exposed to burn pit smoke could develop chronic respiratory conditions within ten years after separation from service, including asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis, including rhinosinusitis. There are many additional illnesses that might have a burn pit exposure connection, such as:

  • Cancer, including leukemia, carcinoma, lymphoma, medulloblastoma, and cancers of the bladder, bones, brain, prostate, intestines, kidneys, lungs, pharynx, larynx, pancreas, and other organs and tissues.
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Many chronic respiratory conditions
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Many other adverse medical conditions

If you or a loved one developed a medical condition within ten years of separating from service and served in the qualifying geographic locations, you might be eligible for VA disability benefits. A Michigan VA Disability Attorney can talk to you about eligibility for compensation for burn pit exposure. Get in touch with our office for legal assistance, we offer a free consultation.

female veteran and attorney

Steps to Take if You Disagree with Your VA Disability Rating

The way that the Veterans Administration (VA) handles appeals has changed considerably in the last few years. If it has been a while since you interacted with the VA on a claim, it will be in your interest to learn the new procedures. Either way, it’s important to consult with an experienced VA Appeals Attorney to not only understand your rights, but to know exactly how the new law changes can affect you.

The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (AMA) that went into effect in February 2019 impacted the steps to take if you disagree with your VA disability rating. A Michigan VA Disability Attorney can represent you through the appeals process and protect your rights.

Three Possible Appeal Paths

Many people who apply for disability benefits from the VA do not agree with the initial decision the VA reaches about their disability rating and the resulting amount of benefits they will receive. If you find yourself in the situation, the VA offers a new appeal process under the AMA. 

The AMA split the VA disability claim appeal process into three different lanes. Your three options are: 

  • Supplemental Claim
  • Higher-Level Review
  • Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board)

You will need to select which of the three appeal paths you wish to take when you disagree with the decision of the VA about your application for disability benefits. 

Supplemental Claim

The supplemental claim option is for people who have new evidence that they did not submit when they filed their initial application for VA disability benefits. This evidence should be relevant to the claim, particularly information that could have caused a positive outcome in the initial decision.

Higher-Level Review

If you think the VA made a mistake in the initial decision, you might want to select the Higher-Level review (HLR) option. For example, a clerical error or some other simple mistake could get corrected at this level of review. The VA advises people that the first two options, Supplemental Claim and Higher-Level review, offer a quicker resolution than the third option, which is an Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board). It’s important to note that an HLR can only be filed once in the life of a claim. 

Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board)

An Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) is the most formal of the three options. Not surprisingly, a Board appeal takes the longest time of the three options. If you select a Board appeal, you will need to choose among three more paths, Direct Review, Evidence Submission, and Hearing with a Veterans Law Judge (VLJ).

Board Appeal – Three More Choices

People who disagree with the initial decision from the VA on their disability claim and select a Board appeal must then choose one of these three options:

  • Direct Review. If you think the VA misinterpreted the facts of your case or the law, you might want to select this path, which has the shortest timeline of Board appeals. This path does not involve submitting additional evidence to the Board.
  • Evidence Submission. You can submit additional evidence to the Board using this path option. With this option, you are not questioning whether the VA misinterpreted what you previously submitted. You are merely supplementing the evidence for the Board to consider when it reviews your case on appeal.
  • If you wish to have a Hearing with a Veterans Law Judge (VLJ), you will need to choose the Hearing path, which takes the longest of the three Board appeal options. Not surprisingly, this option also takes the longest of all possible options under the AMA’s new procedures.

Each of these VA appeal options has strict rules and deadlines. If you miss a deadline, you could lose the right to appeal the VA’s initial decision on your disability claim. With so much at stake, it would be a smart decision to work with a Michigan VA Disability Attorney if you are unhappy with the VA’s initial decision on your request for disability benefits. Get in touch with our office today for legal assistance, we offer a free consultation.

VA disability attorney and client

5 Common Errors in VA Decisions that Veterans Can Appeal

If the Veterans Administration (VA) denied your claim for VA benefits or awarded you too low an amount, you might be able to appeal that adverse decision. Sometimes, the VA did not follow its own procedures or made a mistake that led to the unfair result.

A Michigan VA Disability Attorney can take a look at your situation and let you know if you have a strong appeal. Here are five common errors in VA decisions that veterans can appeal:

The VA Did Not Explain the Facts or Law on Which They Based the Adverse Decision

If you wish to appeal an adverse decision from the VA, you must decide which appeal avenue is best for you under the law, and file the appeal on the proper forms. The VA must discuss the facts and identify the law on which they based their adverse decision. If you received a letter that merely stated that the VA denied your application for benefits, you might have grounds for appeal.

The VA Did Not Offer a Medical Evaluation or Opinion About a Claim for a Service-Related Disability

If there is not sufficient medical evidence in your file for the VA to form an opinion as to whether the disability is service-related, the VA might have an obligation to provide a medical examination for you. The VA’s duty to provide a medical examination or opinion about whether your disability is connected to your military service exists when all three of these factors are present:

  1. You can show that you have a current disability.
  2. You can prove that you had an in-service injury or event.
  3. There is evidence that the event that happened during your military service might have caused your current disability.

If you can meet all three of the above criteria, and there is not sufficient medical evidence in your file to make a determination about service connection to your current disability, the VA is under an obligation to provide a medical evaluation and opinion for you.

The VA Health Care Provider or Explanation of the Medical Opinion Was Not Sufficient

The VA cannot use just anyone to perform the medical examination and form an opinion as to whether your current disability has a service connection. The doctor must have a sound knowledge base about your type of disability and explain in detail the reasons for his or her opinion about service connection.

The VA Did Not Get Your Medical Records

The VA does not require veterans to chase down all of the medical records that are relevant to their claim for disability benefits. If you gave the VA sufficient information about where you got treated and when, the VA has a duty to obtain medical records that are relevant to your claim. If the VA did not bother to gather the necessary medical records so that they could fully and fairly evaluate your condition, you could appeal a denial of benefits.

The VA Denied Your Claim for Inadequate Evidence Without Proper Notice of Required Proof

If you filed your application for VA benefits in the last 20 years, the VA has certain duties they did not have before that time. One of these requirements is that the VA has to notify you what information you must submit as proof that your medical condition is service-related. The VA will gather some items, like medical records, on your behalf.

If the VA did not tell you which items you have to submit that they will not obtain for you, and the lack of that evidence adversely affected your benefits claim, you may have a strong case for an appeal. The missing evidence must be relevant to your claim. Also, you must show that the missing evidence exists and would have helped your claim.

You will want to talk with a Michigan VA disability Attorney about whether you have any of the listed arguments, or others, to appeal your claim for VA disability benefits. Get in touch with our office today for a free consultation.

Veteran speaking with physician

Veterans Exposed to Particulate Matter – Maximum VA Disability Benefits

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a less than stellar track record of addressing significant health concerns related to military service. For example, many Vietnam-era veterans had to wait for decades to get access to VA benefits and appropriate medical treatment for medical conditions presumed to be related to exposure to Agent Orange during their military service.

The Biden administration does not want to subject military veterans to the same unacceptable treatment for the current health concern about burn pits and other military chemical exposures during the Gulf War. The White House and the VA are moving forward to improve the timeliness of access to services and benefits for these people who served our country. A Michigan VA disability attorney could help veterans exposed to particulate matter seeking maximum VA disability benefits.

Health Conditions That Are the Focus of the Interim Final Rule

The VA enacted an interim final rule, effective August 5, 2021, entitled “Presumptive Service Connection for Respiratory Conditions Due to Exposure to Particulate Matter.” This rule established a presumptive service connection for these three chronic respiratory conditions:

  •       Asthma
  •       Rhinitis
  •       Sinusitis (including rhinosinusitis)

Veterans with any of these diagnoses would also need to have presumed exposure to fine particulate matter during their military service.

The Geographic and Date Requirements of the Rule

Current and future veterans of the Gulf War, also called the Persian Gulf War, can get immediate healthcare, services, and benefits if they have one of these chronic respiratory health conditions and served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations. The start date of the Gulf War was August 1990. As of the date of the interim final rule, neither Congress nor the President has established an official end date for the Gulf War.

The rule also applies to veterans who served in Afghanistan, Syria, Djibouti, or Uzbekistan on or after September 19, 2001, during the Gulf War. Current and future veterans who served in either of the qualifying theaters of operations can include those on active military, naval, or air service.

Purpose of the Rule

Typically, a veteran applying for benefits must prove service connection for the medical condition and exposure to the chemical or event that caused or contributed to the harm. The rule amends the previous VA adjudication regulations. Now, a current or former military service member who falls within the geographic and date requirements will not have to meet such a high evidentiary burden. The VA will presume that the service member or veteran had exposure to fine particulate matter and that there is a service connection for asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. 

Maximum VA Disability Benefits

The VA assesses disability ratings in increments of 10 percent, beginning with 10 percent and going up to 100 percent. Beginning December 1, 2021, the VA will use the 2022 veterans disability compensation rates to calculate an individual veteran’s monthly payment amount.

A veteran with a disability rating of 10% or 20% will not receive a higher rate even if they have a dependent spouse, child, or parent. A veteran with a 100% disability rating can receive this amount of compensation per month:

  •       $3,332.06 for a veteran with no dependents
  •       $3,517.84 for a veteran with a spouse but no dependent parents or children
  •       $3,653.89 for a veteran with one dependent spouse and child
  •       $3,666.94 for a veteran with a spouse and one dependent parent but no children

The maximum VA disability monthly benefit for 2022 is $3,952.09 for a veteran with a 100% disability rating, one dependent child, a spouse, and two dependent parents. The VA can add on amounts for additional qualifying children and for a spouse receiving Aid and Attendance. However, there may be additional compensation based on additional criteria and benefits available. 

The VA has expressed concern that many veterans and even some VA claims adjudicators might not have up-to-date awareness of these policy changes. Your VA disability claim might get denied or never get filed for these reasons. A Michigan VA disability attorney can help you pursue the maximum amount of VA disability benefits for which you are eligible. Get in touch with our office today for legal help, we offer a free consultation and disability is all we do. 

American Amputee Soldier On Road

Common Veteran Service-Connected Disabilities

A significant portion of the veteran population experiences service-related health issues that they might mistakenly assume is merely the result of aging. Knowing some of the more common veteran service-connected disabilities could be helpful when preparing a claim for military disability benefits. 

A Michigan SSDI attorney could talk to you and help you explore military and civilian disability benefits. It could make a substantial financial difference to your monthly benefits check if you include all of your possible service-connected physical or mental conditions in your application.

How Does the Veterans Administration (VA) Treat Toxic Chemical Exposure?

The VA now provides disability benefits to veterans who have certain chronic medical conditions and had known chemical exposure during their period of service. In some of these situations, the veteran does not have to prove that the chemical exposure caused the illness. The veteran might be able to collect benefits if they prove that they have the medical condition and that they had the chemical exposure.

Agent Orange exposure and Gulf War illnesses are two of the more recent examples. Veterans also need to be aware that many of them could have had exposure to asbestos or radiation during their service.

Combat-Related Injuries

A service member who got wounded when serving in a combat zone could have ongoing challenges because of those injuries. Some examples could include physical conditions affecting the veteran’s back, hips, knees, and feet, for example, but could also include mental impairments such as depression and PTSD. The VA will evaluate a wounded veteran and use a rating scale process to assign a disability percentage rating for purposes of calculating the benefits.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A veteran could develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after suffering a severe injury like an attack from an improvised explosive device (IED) or from observing devastating wounds and deaths. PTSD can affect an individual’s ability to maintain gainful employment, experience healthy relationships, and enjoy life.

Neck, Back, Knee, Hip, and Feet Problems

Because many service members engage in distance hiking, running, or walking with loaded backpacks or have to carry heavy objects during their job assignments, training, or required exercise, back, neck, knee, hip, and feet issues are quite common and could include other conditions as well. A young person on active duty might be able to shrug off the discomfort, but as the veteran ages, the impact of those activities can cause chronic impairment.


Life in the military is rough on the body, to say the least, with injuries being rather commonplace. From minor training wounds to combat scars, extensive scar tissue can be disfiguring. Also, scar tissue can cause loss of range of motion, adhesions, and chronic discomfort.

Amputation and Limb Loss

Many of the individuals one sees with a prosthetic arm or leg lost their limb in a combat injury like an explosion or in another kind of service-connected incident. Amputation and limb loss can receive a high disability rating from the VA.


Many veterans report that they suffer from headaches and even migraines that can be quite debilitating when they strike. This neurological condition can affect a person’s ability to make a living and enjoy life and can result in a high rating depending on the nature and severity of the veteran’s headaches and/or migraines. 

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

What you might think is age-related hearing loss might actually be the result of damage to your hearing from military service that commonly progresses through the years becoming more noticeable as you age. Frequent exposure to things like gunfire, explosives, and jet engines can cause a person to experience hearing loss or develop tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. 

Depression, Anxiety, and Other Mental Health Challenges

It is common for veterans to experience sleep disorders, restlessness, elevated anxiety, a feeling of sadness or hopelessness, and other symptoms that can impair a person’s ability to function. Some veterans can get a full disability rating (100%) for mental health issues. 

If you are a veteran struggling with physical and/or mental conditions, you will want to talk to a Michigan VA disability attorney about your service-connected disabilities. Our attorneys understand what documents and forms are needed to help you win the highest rating under the law that you deserve. Contact our office today, we offer a free consultation and disability is all we do.