Why Having a VA Accredited Attorney Helps Your Claim



One of the biggest reasons veterans face claim denials is a lack of legal representation. The claims process is extensive and exhausting, and it’s normal for you to miss key details, especially when dealing with the aftermath of trauma. Working with a veteran disability lawyer can help you avoid claims rejection and appeal an incorrect VA decision. If you’re struggling with securing VA disability claims, this post will answer some of the common questions you may have, including:

  • Should I hire a lawyer?
  • How do I choose the best veterans disability lawyer near me?

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Why You Need a VA-Accredited Attorney

The FY2020 Board of Veterans’ Appeals report shows veterans with attorneys won 41 percent of their appealed cases within the last fiscal year. Let’s look at ways a legal representation can help you win the disability benefits you deserve:

They can outline key steps veterans might miss

Having your compensation application denied by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) can be disheartening. There are certain critical steps you can’t afford to miss while filing a claim. Here’s how legal representation can help you adhere to all the formal requirements:

  • Furnish strong medical evidence that your illness is service-connected or service-aggravated.
  • Ensure you’re punctual with the Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam appointment.
  • Submit all the duly filled and accurate forms.
  • Provide a concrete diagnosis of your disability, its symptoms, and why it should be considered for VA disability compensation.

They can read “legalese” that veterans may not understand

Most veterans who qualify for disability benefits don’t know how the law works. A qualified lawyer with a proven track record of dealing with VA claims can help you understand the complex legal and technical jargon in the application process. With their expertise, they can provide a detailed explanation of why your claim was denied the first time, and suggest tips to fill the gaps and win the appeal.

They can help you appeal an incorrect decision

Apart from completing your initial disability application, a veteran disability lawyer can review claim denials. If you’re not satisfied with the VA rating decision or approved compensation, a lawyer can help you appeal the VA decision. He can explain why the VA denied your claim the first time — the legal and technical errors — and how to potentially win your appeal.

How to find a lawyer who can help veterans

You may be looking for the best legal representation and assistance in securing the maximum VA disability compensation that you deserve. Below are important things to look for while hiring a veteran disability lawyer.

VA accredited

The very first thing you should check is if they’re VA accredited, i.e., authorized by the VA to assist claimants with their disability benefits earned from honorable military service. Such lawyers have a thorough understanding of the VA health and benefits systems and provide quality assistance in presenting and prosecuting the claims.

Well-versed in the latest veteran laws

The next important question to ask is, “How long have you been practicing veteran disability law?” Laws and regulations related to the VA are complex, often difficult to comprehend, and frequently updated. Attorneys trained in veteran disability law can help eligible claimants maximize VA benefits. They’ve knowledge of the system and can help you submit the right paperwork, gather evidence, and fight for your benefits.

Charge reasonable fees

Make sure the lawyer isn’t charging unethical fees based on future benefits. Ideally, the accredited representatives should charge a contingency fee based on retroactive benefits recovered. Under current law, an attorney can’t charge fees for services rendered in connection with the filing of a VA claim. Only after VA makes its initial decision will they be able to charge the claimant for services provided as a result of that decision.

6 Reasons VA claims get denied

Before getting a veteran disability lawyer, it’s a good idea to understand some of the context behind why the VA may deny disability claims. These reasons will be what you and your VA-accredited attorney will attempt to address when appealing your denial. 


VA compensation doesn’t appear to have inherent deadlines, which lulls many people into a false sense of security. The VA may set certain deadlines for your specific case. These could include doctor visits, submitting additional evidence, or missing appointments. 

Incomplete forms

As with any kind of application, to receive VA benefits, you must ensure you’re thorough on the application form. You may need to give details about yourself, your family, contact info, your medical history, your military service, and recorded proof of your disability. This can be quite a lot for veterans and their families to process, highlighting the importance of a VA-accredited attorney.

Incorrect forms

Even a form that has been completely filled out can be invalidated if it contains incorrect information. We don’t need to tell you it’s a terrible idea to lie on a VA benefits claim. Any dishonesty will severely impact your case. However, forms can also be incorrect through human error, or because the form itself isn’t the appropriate one. A VA-accredited attorney can help you avoid these errors. 

Pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing conditions are another major cause of denial for VA benefits. Receiving these benefits requires proving that the cause of the disability arose during military service. However, you can progress down the avenue of arguing that military service caused a pre-existing condition to become significantly more severe. 


There are many potential medical complications. However, not all of them will qualify for disability compensation from the VA. You can’t simply report symptoms or a potential health issue. You need to definitively prove you have a diagnosis of a medical condition from a medical professional. 

Rejected evidence

Sometimes, you do manage to collect enough medical evidence for the VA office, but they still end up rejecting your claim. Proper filing of evidence is a complex process.

Your evidence must clearly prove your condition is a disability. Medical documents are valuable pieces of evidence, but you need to prove they came from a certified medical practitioner. The most vital part of all this is that you draw a line from your condition to your service.

Can you appeal a rejected claim?

It is possible to file appeals for veterans’ claims. However, the appeals process can be just as complicated, if not more so, than the original submission. This is one reason why represented veterans find it easier to get their claims approved. With a VA-accredited attorney, you don’t need to simply accept a denial of your benefits. A VA disability lawyer can help you file a claim, make an appeal, or even increase your disability rating.

When denials are unlawful 

While the VA has legal precedence to reject claims, not every denied claim is lawful. And, yes, you can fight unethical rejections. An example of this is “bad paper” discharges. Essentially, a bad paper discharge is a label given to a military service member that received anything but an honorable discharge for unfair reasons. 

Receiving an other-than-honorable, dishonorable discharge, or “bad conduct” discharge may fall under a bad paper discharge. Some service members don’t receive an honorable discharge because of blatant misconduct or poor judgment. But others with decent records get bad paper discharges based on discriminatory grounds. And, of course, this means they can’t qualify for veteran disability benefits. 

Examples of unlawful bad paper discharges

  • Getting discharged because of alleged minor and unproven “offenses.” 
  • Getting discharged due to behaviors stemming from physical or mental-health disabilities (i.e., PTSD, TBI, anxiety disorders). 
  • Getting discharged for violating the now-repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy (which discriminated against LGBTQIA members). 

There are some alarming numbers to put these charges into context. For example, between 2009 and 2015, 22,000 soldiers with bad paper charges were diagnosed with PTSD or TBIs. And over 100,000 service members have been discharged due to their LGBTQIA status.

Of course, when these service members can’t get VA claims, essential health-care benefits become inaccessible. And the same conditions they need assistance treating worsen because they have no support. These service members often endure declining mental health, suicidal ideation, unemployment, and homelessness. 

When to contact a veteran disability lawyer 

If you feel your VA claim has been wrongfully denied, you should contact a veteran disability lawyer ASAP. An other-than-honorable discharge received for minor “offenses” stemming from physical injuries, psychological distress, or sexual orientation is unfair and unethical. 

But fighting a bad paper charge is often a complex and emotional process. Sometimes, service members — being human — may engage in conduct the military prohibits in an attempt to heal from a certain trauma.

If you’re on the lookout for a VA disability attorney, get in touch withLegalASAP today. Your case is important, and you deserve the right help. Ready to see if you may qualify? Complete your free online veterans benefits evaluation now!