surviving spouse benefits

Are “Surviving Spouses” Eligible for VA Benefits?

If you are the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, you may be eligible for certain cash benefits. Specifically, you may be eligible for what is known as dependency and indemnity compensation (“DIC”) benefits. DIC benefits are available to surviving spouses of service members who died from service-connected disabilities or had a 100% disability rating prior to death. Below is an overview of DIC benefits for surviving spouses. For additional information about DIC benefits for surviving military spouses, please contact our Michigan veterans benefits attorneys.

Eligibility for DIC benefits

If you are a surviving military spouse, you may be eligible for DIC benefits if your spouse:

  • Died while on active duty (or inactive duty for training),
  • From a disability that was connected to his or her service, OR
  • While eligible for or receiving disability compensation for a totally disabling condition for between one and ten years, depending on the circumstances.

In addition to the above conditions, you must also meet the following requirements:

  • You married your spouse at least one year prior to his or her death,
  • You lived with your spouse without any separations until he or she died (some exceptions may apply), 
  • Your spouse must have died from a disability that was connected to his or her service if you were married within 15 years of discharge from the period of service that caused the disability, OR
  • You had a child with your spouse, OR
  • Your spouse died while he or she was on active duty (or inactive duty for training).

DIC benefits for surviving spouses who remarry

If you are a surviving spouse who has remarried, you may be ineligible for DIC benefits. However, your eligibility depends on the date you remarried and your age on the date of your remarriage. If you remarried after age 57, you remain eligible for DIC if you also meet the requirements above. If you remarried before you turned 57, you aren’t eligible for DIC benefits unless you were married before December 16, 2003.

Contact an attorney to determine your eligibility for DIC benefits

Given all of the requirements and exceptions discussed above, it can be difficult to determine if you’re eligible for DIC benefits without legal assistance. Therefore, if you’d like to determine your eligibility for surviving spouse DIC benefits, you need Disability Law Group on your side. At Disability Law Group, our Michigan veterans benefits attorneys are here to help you obtain the benefits you deserve. We respect our veterans and their families, and we’re committed to assisting you with every step of the veterans disability benefits process. If you live in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, or elsewhere in Michigan and would like to apply for DIC benefits, we’re here to help. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.  

Illnesses that Appear One Year After Discharge: Do I Still Get VA Benefits?

If you were recently discharged from active military service and have since developed a medical condition, you may be eligible for veterans disability benefits. In many cases, if your symptoms appeared within a year of your discharge, the VA will determine that they’re related to your service, thereby making you eligible for veterans disability benefits. Below is an overview of delayed illnesses and veterans disability benefits. 

Veterans Disability Benefits Eligibility  

If you’re a veteran with an illness that appeared within one year of your discharge that is at least 10% disabling, you may be eligible for veterans disability benefits. However, in order to be eligible, you must also meet both of the following requirements:

  • You have an eligible medical condition pursuant to federal law, and
  • You weren’t dishonorably discharged from the service.

Obtaining Veterans Disability Benefits 

In order to obtain veterans disability benefits, the first thing you must do is file a claim for disability compensation and submit evidence of your medical condition. The evidence you submit must demonstrate that: 

  • Your medical condition is at least 10% disabling, and
  • It appeared within a year after you were discharged from the service.

If your illness is listed in Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, 3.09(a), you aren’t required to show that your problem is a result of your military service. The VA considers these conditions, which are called “presumptive diseases,” to automatically be related to your service. For a detailed list of presumptive diseases, please contact a Michigan veterans benefits attorney

Exceptions

If you have any of the following diseases, you may be eligible for veteran’s disability benefits even if your symptoms appeared over one year following your discharge from military service:

  • Hansen’s disease 
  • Tuberculosis 
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease

Contact a Michigan Veterans Benefits Attorney Today 

If you are a disabled veteran who suffers from any of the above conditions, you may be eligible for veterans disability benefits. In addition, since the above list is not exhaustive, you should contact a Michigan veterans benefits attorney if you have acquired any illness since your discharge from the service. At Disability Law Group, our Michigan veterans benefits attorneys are here to help you obtain the veterans benefits you deserve. We respect your military service, and we’re committed to assisting you with every step of the veterans disability benefits process. So, if you live in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, or anywhere else in Michigan or the United States, and suffer from a medical condition that may entitle you to veterans disability benefits, we’re on your side. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation. 

Man with a presumptive condition from Agent Orange meeting with an attorney.

Presumptive Conditions Caused by Agent Orange

Most medical professionals agree that the use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War led veterans to develop numerous diseases, including various types of cancer. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has outlined various conditions that they have identified as directly caused by Agent Orange to qualify as a “presumptive” condition for service-connected disability purposes. However, various criteria must be met in order for the veteran to be eligible for service-connection; for example, serving in one of the enumerated locations and during the corresponding presumptive period of time must also be met. Below are the various conditions believed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange. 

If you suffer from a disease that you believe was caused by your exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, regardless of whether the condition is considered “presumptive,” please contact our veterans benefits attorneys to discuss your eligibility for veterans disability benefits. 

Cancers Attributed to Agent Orange Exposure

Some of the cancers attributed to Agent Orange exposure are:

  • Prostate cancer: Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that attacks a man’s prostate gland.
  • Respiratory cancer: This type of cancer can attack the lungs, trachea, bronchus, and larynx. 
  • Soft tissue sarcomas: Soft tissue sarcomas attack muscles, fat, lymph glands, blood vessels, and connective tissues.
  • Chronic B-cell Leukemia: This type of cancer attacks the white blood cells.
  • Hodgkin’s disease: This cancer increases the size of the lymph nodes, spleen, and liver and lowers the body’s red blood cell count.
  • Multiple myeloma: This type of cancer attacks the body’s plasma cells.

Other Diseases

Other diseases attributed to Agent Orange exposure include:

  • AL amyloidosis: This is a rare disease that occurs if amyloid, which is an abnormal kind of protein, builds up inside the bodily tissue, the nerves, or the organs.
  • Chloracne: Chloracne is a skin problem that occurs shortly after exposure to certain chemicals.
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2: This disease occurs when someone’s body can’t process insulin properly, which results in elevated levels of sugar in the blood. 
  • Ischemic heart disease: This disease occurs when the heart doesn’t receive a sufficient amount of blood or oxygen, and it often results in pain or discomfort in the chest area. 
  • Parkinson’s disease: This disease attacks the muscles and impairs movement.

Do you suffer from a medical condition caused by Agent Orange? 

While this piece provides some of the problems and conditions attributed to Agent Orange exposure, there are many more that are believed to be caused by these chemicals. If you were exposed to Agent Orange and suffer from health problems of any kind, you may be eligible for veterans disability benefits. At Disability Law Group, our veterans benefits attorneys are here to help you obtain the benefits you deserve. We respect our veterans, and we’re committed to assisting you with every step of the veterans disability benefits process, including appealing your denial to protect your rights.

If you live in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, or elsewhere in Michigan and suffer from a medical condition that you believe was caused by your exposure to Agent Orange, we’re on your side. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.  

Attorney calculating a VA disability rating for a client.

Calculating VA Disability Ratings

A VA disability rating is the percentage that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs assigns for a qualified condition(s) to a veteran. This rating determines the amount of disability benefits a veteran can receive for his or her service-connected condition(s). The percentage assigned to VA disability ratings reflects the severity of the condition. For example, a 0% VA disability rating is assigned to a condition that may have no effect on a veteran, while a 100% VA disability rating is assigned to a condition that has a significant effect on the veteran or perhaps even render a veteran incapacitated and/or unable to work. 

Below is some information on how VA disability ratings are calculated. If you are a veteran and have additional questions about VA disability ratings, please contact our veterans benefits attorneys today. We are certified to represent veterans and assist them with their appeals before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including before the Board of Veterans Appeals’ Judges. 

How the VA Calculates Disability Ratings

When you submit a disability claim for service-connected disability benefits, the VA makes a determination about the severity of your conditions, individually, based on information and documentation you submit or that the VA obtains from your military records. VA disability rates range from 0% to 100%. In addition, you may be paid additional amounts if: 

  • Your disabilities are severe and significantly impact your overall functioning, and ability to work.
  • You are married or have dependents.
  • You have a spouse who is severely disabled.

Combined Ratings for Multiple Disabilities 

If you have more than one disability, the VA calculates a combined disability rating. The algorithm the VA uses to calculate the overall percentage or combined ratings has been notoriously referred to as exceedingly complex and challenging to compute even for practitioners. In order to combine ratings for more than one disability, the VA takes the following steps: 

  • First, the VA arranges the disabilities by order of severity, starting with the greatest disability and then combines according to the VA’s ratings table.
  • The VA then performs a series of calculations to arrive at a combined value. 
  • Next, this combined value is rounded to the nearest 10%.
  • If there are multiple disabilities to rate, the combined value for the first two disabilities will be determined using the procedure described above.
  • The exact combined value is then combined with the degree of the third disability.
  • The VA then repeats this process for subsequent disabilities and rounds the final number to the nearest 10%, arriving at a final combined disability rating. 

Contact a Michigan Veterans Benefits Attorney

If this seems confusing, don’t fret. With the help of a veterans benefits attorney, you will have no problem compiling and submitting the proper documentation to the VA to determine your veterans benefits eligibility, increasing your chances that you will receive the benefits you deserve. If you are a veteran who suffers from a disability, the skilled veterans benefits attorneys at Disability Law Group want to help you obtain the veterans benefits you deserve. 

At Disability Law Group, we appreciate your service to our country, and we’re committed to ensuring that your sacrifice doesn’t go unnoticed. We’ll assist you with every step of the veterans disability benefits process, including appealing your denial if necessary and representation before the Board of Veterans’ Affairs. If you live in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, or elsewhere in Michigan and suffer from a disabling medical condition, we’re here to help. At Disability Law Group, disability is all we do. Please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.  

A veteran with carpal tunnel.

Does My Carpal Tunnel Qualify Me for Veterans Disability Benefits?

If you’re a veteran with carpal tunnel, you may be entitled to veterans disability benefits. Carpal tunnel is a condition that causes pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hands and arms, and it affects veterans all over the countrymany of whom don’t even realize they have it. Even worse, some people’s carpal tunnel is so severe that it limits their ability to work. If you are a veteran who has been diagnosed with carpal tunnel or who suffers from any of the symptoms described above, you may be entitled to financial compensation. After reviewing the information below, please contact our Michigan veterans benefits attorneys as soon as possible to determine your eligibility for veterans disability benefits. 

How is carpal tunnel treated?

There are several treatment options for carpal tunnel, including:

  • Wrist splints or braces
  • The avoidance of certain activities
  • Physical and/or Occupational therapy
  • Surgery   

What causes carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel is usually caused by a combination of factors, including:

  • Heredity 
  • Hand and wrist position
  • Repetitive movement
  • Health conditions 
  • Pregnancy-related

Establishing a service connection for carpal tunnel

In order to receive veterans disability benefits for carpal tunnel, you must prove that your condition is a result of your service. The VA calls this a “service connection.” To establish a service connection, you must demonstrate the following:

  • A diagnosis of carpal tunnel,
  • A link between your condition and an event, injury, or illness suffered during your time in service, and
  • A medical opinion that your condition is “at least likely as not” caused by or a result of your military service.

If you are a veteran, you may be entitled to benefits for your carpal tunnel 

The symptoms of carpal tunnel can limit or prevent your ability to hold a job. Carpal tunnel often affects dexterity and the ability to grasp, making even common office tasks difficult to perform.  And carpal tunnel’s effect on the ability to lift heavy objects can certainly preclude an ability to work manual labor jobs. For VA compensation purposes, you do not have to show that your condition precludes your ability to work although that may be the case. If you are a veteran with a diagnosis of carpal tunnel that you believe was a result of your time in service, you may be entitled to veterans disability benefits. If you would like to apply for veterans disability benefits, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced veterans benefits attorney to begin the process. Our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys will help you understand the requirements for service-connection as well as how to best strategize your claim from the start or on appeal. 

Apply for benefits today 

If you are a veteran who suffers from carpal tunnel, the Michigan veterans benefits attorneys of Disability Law Group want to help you obtain the benefits that you deserve. At Disability Law Group, we appreciate and respect your service to our country, and we are committed to walking you through each step of the veterans disability benefits process. If you are a veteran who suffers from carpal tunnel, contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation. Remember, at Disability Law Group, disability is all we do.