You’re looking for someone who is as invested in your VA disability benefits as you are. The advocates at the VA will help you for free, but they see hundreds of veterans every week—and sometimes they don’t seem to really care what happens after you apply. You thought about hiring an attorney, but you can’t afford any up-front fees to establish your case. Will you have to take on debt to get help with your claim?

Paying “Upfront” Fees When Hiring a VA Disability Lawyer

The good news is that disability attorneys are prohibited from charging you until you have received a first denial of your benefits. Attorneys can charge veterans for services on a contingency-fee basis only, meaning the attorney is paid with a portion of your benefits if and when he wins the case.

There are a few things attorneys may need to obtain as part of the cost of processing your case. In almost every instance, we will advance these costs and have you reimburse us at the end of the case if need to obtain:

  • Independent medical exams. There is a great benefit to having an independent medical exam taken at a facility outside the VA. While the VA will conduct its own evaluation of a veteran’s physical and mental condition at no cost, the exam is being done by the same agency that will approve or deny benefits, creating a conflict of interest. An attorney can set up an examination with an independent physician who will give an honest opinion of your condition and limitations and send the findings to the VA as evidence.
  • Vocational expert reports. In order to determine if a veteran is able to do any work, the VA will rely on medical records and the opinions of its physicians to make a decision. However, a vocational expert is better qualified to determine the limitations of a veteran in the current job market. Attorneys work with vocational experts in disability cases to perform industrial survey reports, which compare current job postings with the veteran’s circumstances. The vocational expert then submits a written opinion on the veteran’s likelihood of obtaining and succeeding in another job based on his physical and mental abilities, education level, work experience, and job skills.
  • Record requests. There are many sundry costs associated with filing and pursuing a case, such as requesting past medical, school, and employment records, which may require expedited postage or ordered in several copies. These costs are usually minimal, but attorneys are allowed to ask for reimbursement.

At Cuddigan Law, we know that veterans are often in a tough financial situation when they come to us for help. That is why we do not charge any upfront fees, and we do not get paid until after we get your claim approved. We represent veterans in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, Missouri, Illinois and South Dakota. For more helpful information on your case, email us at [email protected] today or download a free copy of our book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska