The answer is not always simple. Obtaining any type of representative is a personal decision based on your preferences and situation. For some veterans, applying for and obtaining disability benefits is straightforward and easy, and there’s no real need for help. But for other veterans, the process is complex and complicated and can sometimes result in frustration, a long wait, and a denial of benefits. Some veterans choose a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) because the services are free; but many veterans find there are significant benefits to hiring an experienced disability lawyer to guide them through the filing and the claim process.
The Advantages of Hiring a Veterans’ Disability Lawyer
When Congress passed the 2007 law allowing veterans to hire disability lawyers earlier in the claims process, it made it easier for veterans to get help to dispute a rating or a claim denial. Many veterans used a VSO to represent them; but this legislation was a significant change that benefited veterans who wanted legal representation.
If you’re a veteran who wants to file a disability claim, there are many advantages to hiring a veteran’s disability lawyer. Not only does having a lawyer significantly increase your chance of receiving benefits, a lawyer has the resources to make you a priority, give you personalized attention, and help you with the challenging process of applying for or appealing your claim. But having a lawyer work with you is also beneficial for more specific reasons:
- The VA claims process isn’t an easy one, and the laws governing this process are complex and sometimes challenging to understand. Lawyers attend law school to learn how to read through the many regulations and apply the law to the facts of your specific case.
- A lawyer can help pull together the evidence you need to win. Sometimes, you may need additional medical reports or records, and a lawyer can help you obtain that evidence, even if the VA cannot find it or believes it does not exist.
- A lawyer can write a letter to your doctor or request an independent medical exam. Both can be important to your case. Often, the VA requires very specific information from a doctor, and a report may be rejected because the VA didn’t find the language suitable or sufficient. A lawyer can help with this.
- The appeals process for a denied claim can take months or years to complete. And even if you submit your application properly, many claims are denied. An experienced veterans’ disability lawyer can evaluate the reasons for the denial and determine what needs to be done for your appeal.