hispanic male veteran with elderly female attorney

May Case Spotlight

In May of 2021, Disability Law Group partner Mandy Kelly received a win on one of her most difficult cases to date.  After several years of fighting, Disability Law Group was able to obtain service-connected disability payments for her client retroactive to 1995!  Many Veterans reach out to Disability Law group seeking assistance with obtaining their VA disability monthly compensation, but many others contact our attorneys because they are not happy with the date that their benefits were paid back to or their ‘entitlement date’ assigned by the VA.

In this case, Mandy Kelly’s client was discharged from the military in 1995 after treating several times during service for anxiety and self-induced vomiting. The Veteran filed for service connected benefits within a year of his discharge. Filing within a year of discharge would normally allow for a veteran to be granted benefits retroactive to the day after he was discharged from the military, but the VA did something that is unfortunately all too common – they sent him on a VA Compensation and Pension examination to confirm he was still suffering from anxiety. The doctor, although provided with proof of several years of documentation confirming the Veteran suffers from anxiety, determined he was not suffering from any signs of mental health symptoms.

Therefore, the Veteran’s claim was initially denied by the VA for not having a current diagnosis. The Veteran, feeling defeated and lacking the knowledge on how to fight the Department of Veteran’s Affairs alone, received the decision and failed to file an appeal in a timely manner.  Years later in 2015, the Veteran refiled again for benefits and was immediately granted service connection, but only retroactive to 2015.  After receiving this decision, he hoped that there was something that could be done to allow for the effective date back to when he initially filed. Upon being referred to Disability Law Group, he immediately had a free consultation with attorney Mandy Kelly. After a thorough review of his file, Mandy Kelly found the evidence she was looking for to support that the Veteran was entitled to an earlier effective date. The basis for an earlier effective date is that under the provisions of 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(b), VA was in “constructive possession” of relevant VA inpatient and outpatient treatment records within one year of the otherwise final 1995 Rating Decision.

A Board of Veterans’ Appeals hearing was held in November 2020 and all legal arguments were presented. The Veteran provided testimony and was represented by Mandy Kelly during his hearing before the Judge. Ultimately, the Judge agreed with Mandy Kelly and granted the Veteran his retroactive benefits back to 1995! After years of struggling with not only his own mental health symptoms, but also dealing with the earlier rejection by the VA and the agency’s contracted doctor, the Veteran received the relief and monetary compensation through the VA that he deserves.

If you or someone you know was recently granted service connection for PTSD, anxiety, or any other service connected condition, and believe you are entitled to an earlier effective date, contact Disability Law Group today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied or if you would like advice from the very start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights and get the representation that you need.