Hill & Ponton, P.A.

Veterans and Social Security Lawyers


Call toll free: 1-888-477-2363

Free eBooks:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Veterans Affairs CompensationIschemic Heart Disease eBookSocial Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Benefits

Your claim is too important. You don't have to do this alone.

Get A Free Case Evaluation »

Hill & Ponton welcomes Vietnam Combat Veteran

Jim Furman joins Hill & Ponton as an attorney of counsel, heading the Texas office of the Hill & Ponton.  Prior to his legal career, Jim enlisted in the Army and worked his way up to a warrant officer, serving his country as a Master Army Aviator in Vietnam.  He flew numerous missions over South and North Vietnam and Laos accumulating over 780 combat hours.  He received a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, 22 Air Medals, and the Army Commendation Medal.  He was shot down on two occasions and was wounded.  After five years of active duty, he continued as a full-time Reserve and Guardsman for another six years, completing thirty years in the active and inactive reserve, retiring as a major.

In his role representing veterans, he has been successful in obtaining increased compensation for many of his clients, in the areas of orthopedic, emotional and psychological and claims relating to Agent Orange.  A big reason why Jim has been so successful in advocating for veterans is because Jim had to fight VA to get his service connected benefits and he knows firsthand what veterans go through.

His law experience includes more than 30 years of complex litigation in the areas of veterans’ law, aviation law, maritime law, products liability and personal injury.  In recognition of his excellence in representing clients, he has been named by his peers as “Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly, magazine, since 2005, as well as being named in the publication, “Best Lawyers in American” for over 10 consecutive years.  He a member of the National Organization of Veteran Advocates (NOVA)and represents veterans before the Veterans Administration and the U. S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He is also a member of the Viet Nam Helicopter Pilots Association.

Jim received his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is admitted to the State Bar of Texas.  After law school, he was a law clerk to the Supreme Court of Texas.  Jim is an instrument rated pilot in both airplanes and helicopters having accumulated over 9,000 hours as pilot in command and as a flight instructor.   Since 1978, Jim has resided in Austin with his wife of 45 years, Susan.  His two sons are presently serving on active duty as Naval and Marine officers overseas.

Active in the community, Jim is a member of Rotary International and has served at the troop, district and council levels of the Boy Scouts of America. He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church and spends his leisure time enjoying camping, hunting, sailing and flying his own airplane.


For Questions About Your Disability Claim... Contact Us

by Matthew Hill
October 24, 2014

How does the VA service connected claims system work?

Filing a claim and taking the necessary steps to appeal a decision can be a daunting task. It all begins with a claim by the veteran to the VA stating that a condition they suffer from is the result of or occurred during their time of service in the military. This first step by the veteran begins a very arduous process in which the VA bureaucracy and massive backlog may have this initial claim falling on deaf ears.

The veteran will, in most cases, after some time has passed, receive a ratings decision. This ratings decision will either deny (if denied, decide if you are going to appeal that decision) or award the veteran a percentage of disability regarding each condition that was stated in their initial claim. In many instances, the veteran will receive a decision that is not favorable to them or conducive to their claim and condition. This is a crucial time for the veteran, as this decision begins a “countdown” of one year in which the veteran has to appeal this decision. Veteran’s, during this stage, will sometimes hire an attorney and file a NOD or notice of disagreement. This is also important, as this is the time frame that allows an attorney to “get involved” and help represent the veteran involving their claim.

At this stage, the veteran or attorney has two options. The first being the DRO or Decision Review Officer, and the second being a traditional appeals process. The decision review officer is an experienced member of the regional office and has the power to make a new decision regardless of the previous one. The DRO may not address all issues the veteran has brought before him, and those not addressed go to the traditional appeals process. The traditional appeals process allows the VA to provide a SOC, or statement of case, which lies out in length the evidence and particulars used to come to the ratings decision that was previously yielded. These SOC’s should be carefully scrutinized; as they can often times contain errors, even pertaining to the interpretation of laws. The DRO and traditional way of appeal have both disadvantages and advantages, so this decision should be carefully weighed.

The SOC can then be appealed to the BVA, or Board of Veteran Appeals, if an undesirable decision is reached. It is important to note that the there is a deadline to appeal to the BVA of 60 days. The BVA will deny, allow, or remand a claim. When the BVA allows or denies a claim, this decision is final (unless appealed to the CAVC) and thus would end that claim. Often the BVA will remand the claim back to the Regional Office for further review. If the claim is denied, a new claim must be brought to the Regional Office, essentially starting the process over again.

The CAVC, or the Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims, is the last rung on the ladder when trying to acquire a positive decision on a claim. The CAVC, like the BVA, can deny, allow, or remand the decision. Again, if a claim is denied, you must begin the process again by filing a new claim.

For Questions About Your Disability Claim... Contact Us

by Gregory Prox, Claims Advocate
October 23, 2014

What is service connected disability?

The VA defines a veteran as a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and includes full-time service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. Active service also includes merchant marines during WWII, and cadets at a military academy. Many veterans are unaware of service connected disability benefits, and that they can get service connection for a disability that was present prior to their service, but aggravated while in service. In layman’s terms, a service connected disability is a physical or mental injury or illness a veteran incurred or aggravated during active military service. One common mental illness is PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a medical condition that can develop after experiencing a terrifying and traumatic event. Many Vietnam War veterans suffer from this condition, as well as ill effects from exposure to Agent Orange during their service. It is interesting to note that the name Agent Orange came from the orange striped barrels the toxic herbicide was shipped in. Veterans exposed to this have increased rates of cancer, digestive problems, leukemia, nerve and respiratory disorders.   These are just two (Agent Orange exposure and PTSD) of the many service connected disabilities for which a veteran can be compensated for.

A service connected disability is not necessarily related to combat, which is an assumption many veterans make. There is also special combat rule that states a veteran in possession of particular awards and decorations, such as the Purple Heart, Medal of Honor, or Silver Star, can rely on buddy and lay statements, and can be offered as evidence that a disability was incurred in combat, even though there is no evidence in service records. These statements must be consistent with the circumstances of the veteran’s service, and must deal with what happened during combat. This rule exists because it is impossible to keep accurate records in combat situations.

To receive service connected disability benefits, a veteran must prove that he or she actually is a veteran, and was discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable. A dishonorable discharge will always disqualify a veteran from receiving VA benefits, except in rare occasions. He or she should always submit a DD 214, which is a copy of their discharge document. The DD 214 provides information on the veteran’s dates of service.

For Questions About Your Disability Claim... Contact Us

by Cindy Schoppert, Claims Advocate
October 22, 2014

TDIU – Back to the Basics (Pt. 2): Proof of Inability to Work

In Part I of TDIU – Back to the Basics, we discussed how the VA determines Individual Unemployability (IU) based on a 2-step analysis: 1) Ratings; and 2) proof of inability to work. In Part I, we looked at the VA’s rating requirements for TDIU. Now we will look at Step 2 – Proof of Inability to Work.

Step 2 – Proof of Inability to Work

Step 2 of the 2-step analysis dictates that the veteran has to prove that he is unable to secure a substantially gainful occupation due to his service-connected disabilities. This by itself is a 2-part problem. In order to fully understand the VA stipulations of Step 2, we have to look at: A) the veteran’s inability to work due to service-connected disabilities; and B) what constitutes “substantially gainful occupation”.

Let’s start with A.

When making a determination on IU, the VA can only consider disabilities that have already been service-connected. If a veteran is service-connected for his knees and his back, but in reality could not work due to his anger/PTSD outbursts (which has not been service-connected), the VA will only consider the knees and the back when deciding if the veteran can work or not. Until service-connection for PTSD is granted (if at all), the veteran should try to prove that he could not work due to his knees and back condition, as opposed to the PTSD.

Moving on to B.

The VA currently does not have a definition for “substantially gainful occupation”. The VA’s Adjudication Procedures Manual defines it as “that which is ordinarily followed by the nondisabled to earn their livelihood with earnings common to the particular occupation in the community where the veteran resides”. While this definition seems to be vague and largely unhelpful, it is worth noting that the VA has to look at:

  1. Marginal employment
  2. Educational and occupational history

Marginal employment is not considered as substantially gainful occupation. Marginal employment is considered as “earned annual income that does not exceed the poverty threshold for one person as established by the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census”. Moreover, a job in a “sheltered environment” (such as a family business, sheltered workshop, or a position tailored to the specific needs of the veteran) is considered to be marginal employment, even if that job earns an income over the current poverty threshold. Therefore, the VA cannot base their decision to grant or deny IU based on the veteran’s job that falls under the criteria for marginal employment.

For example: A veteran with PTSD works for a family friend’s business. The family friend provides the veteran with an office and duties that afford limited interaction with other people. The veteran’s salary pays his bills, and is over the current poverty threshold. Because the veteran job has been tailored to his individual needs (limited interaction with other people), his job is considered to be sheltered, and therefore falls under “marginal employment”. The VA cannot consider this job as being substantially gainful employment, and must not use it against him in determining IU.

The VA also has to consider the veteran’s educational and work history when determining if the veteran is entitled to IU. The VA must look at the veteran’s prior education and training, and how his current disabilities prevent him from working in the field in which he has been trained. If, on the other hand, the veteran has participated in a VA vocational rehabilitation program, and still cannot work due to the service-connected disabilities, the VA must also consider this as positive evidence that the veteran cannot maintain substantially gainful employment.

For Questions About Your Disability Claim... Contact Us

by Mary Klements, Veterans Advocate
October 21, 2014

Social Security says I’m no longer disabled. What do I do?

I have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for some time now but was recently told the benefits will be cut off because I am no longer disabled under their Rules. I disagree with this decision; is there anything I can do?

As a matter of course, the SSA periodically “checks” on every beneficiary’s case to ensure benefits are only being disbursed to eligible individuals. This check, called a Continuing Disability Review, serves as a “Quality Control” on the system. Sometimes, however, the CDR consultant gets it wrong.

You can appeal the CDR determination that you are no longer disabled. If you want your benefits to continue pending the appeal, you must act quickly! You must tell Social Security that you want the benefits to continue while the appeal is pending within 10 days of receipt of your CDR denial.

Be advised that if you lose your Cessation of Benefits appeal, you may have to repay these benefits to SSA. An attorney can advise whether you should also consider filing an additional request for a Waiver of Overpayment should you ultimately lose the Cessation appeal.

If you do not act within those 10 days to continue your benefits pending the appeal, or if you choose to allow the benefits to stop while the appeal is pending, you may be eligible to collect back benefits if you win the Cessation appeal.

If SSA seeks to terminate your benefits because the Agency determined you were no longer medically disabled, the legal standards are a bit different than when you were initially found eligible for SS disability benefits. With a Cessation case, the burden is on the Agency to show 1) you experienced a significant medical improvement related to your ability to work and 2) you can perform Substantial Gainful Activity (Social Security’s way of describing an ability to return to the competitive work environment on a regular and continuous basis).

Your Cessation appeal could potentially make its way, yet again, all the way through the Agency, including another Administrative hearing, to the Appeals Council and then into the Federal Court system. Considering the different legal standards and the benefits at stake, it is important to consult with an attorney to obtain some guidance on your rights, liabilities and options.

For Questions About Your Disability Claim... Contact Us

by Attorney Randi Johnson
October 20, 2014

What VA benefits can a survivor get?

Matthew: Hello, and welcome to the Hill and Ponton video blog. My name is Matthew Hill. This is Carol Ponton. We’re here to talk to you today about VA disability benefits. Specifically, we want to talk to you about survivors’ benefits. Once a veteran dies, his claim does not necessarily die if he has a qualifying survivor to step in his shoes to file a claim.
There are two kinds of benefits:
1. Accrued benefits
This is where the veteran had an ongoing claim and he died and wasn’t given the money he was entitled to. That’s where a survivor can step in and follow in his shoes and see that claim through.
2. DIC benefits
DIC stands for Dependency Indemnity Compensation. Essentially, that is an ongoing monthly compensation for a survivor.
The accrued benefit (the first part that I talked about) is just the lump sum the veteran would’ve been entitled to while he was pursuing his claim, but the DIC is an ongoing monthly benefit.
Most survivors are just lost once they lose their loved one because they’re veteran and they don’t quite understand which one is which. They both, I find, are to be important because the accrued benefits typically will end up being a large lump sum because the veteran has fought so long. But the ongoing benefits I think are equally important. There’s a money stream coming in.

Carol: For the rest of that person’s life.

Matthew: As far as who can be a survivor, the one that I think we all appreciate would be the spouse. Clearly, if the veteran dies and is married, that spouse does qualify. Also, children under circumstances would qualify, as well, if they’re a minor or if they’re in school or if they’re a disabled adult. All of those would qualify.
We see cases where the VA does not grant the DIC benefits and we appeal. Sometimes they won’t grant because the veteran was not service connected at all or they’ll say that the veteran’s disability was not causing the death. Two different situations there. The DIC standard is that the veteran’s service-connected disability either caused or contributed to the death.

Carol: That’s a big difference: caused or contributed to it. If it was part of the cause, not necessarily the main
cause, it still counts.

Matthew: The disability causing the death, which are typically easy, is when the veteran has service-connected heart and he has a heart attack and dies. But those aren’t the cases that the VA typically gets wrong. You can have that same veteran who had a heart problem but was not service connected for it and dies of the heart. But let’s say he had a psych problem – a PTSD problem – and the anxiety that that PTSD constantly put on his body would raise the cortisone levels in his body which would affect his heart and, in essence, contribute to the death.
Those are the kind of subtleties that the VA often railroads right over and denies, but those are extremely important because the law by Congress and the VA is very generous in this sense when it comes to survivors and them getting these benefits.

Carol: Right. They want to protect the survivors. Just because it looks to you like the main cause of the death was not service connected, if there are other causes, you need to look at all of them.
We find that sometimes people will have diabetes – they’ll have very severe diabetes – and they may die of a heart problem. Maybe the diabetes caused the heart problem. There are a number of ways your body is interconnected and you need to figure out what all caused the veteran to die.
You’re entitled to DIC benefits if the veteran was service connected at 100% for ten years. If they were service connected for their knee and back and that didn’t cause the death, you’re still entitled because they were service connected for ten years.

Matthew: And the rating was 100%.

Carol: That may be where there’s another appeal. Maybe the appeal for accrued benefits is asking for 100% to go back. Say the veteran has only been disabled at 100% for six years but part of his appeal is asking for those benefits to go back for more years, which would give the veteran the ten years at 100%. Then you’re automatically entitled to the DIC benefits.
These are complex issues, but you just need to know that the VA is very generous in what they’re offering the veteran and their survivors. So make sure you know what you have and pursue the claims that you have.

Matthew: As she said, pursue the old claims. It would seem that the accrued benefits would be very separate from the DIC benefits, but as Carol said, they can be one and the same.
The last little thing that I wanted to come back to is what I said when the veteran is not service connected for anything. That doesn’t matter. If the disability caused the veteran’s death and it should’ve been service connected, back to the heart disability, if a veteran died ten years ago of a heart disability and the veteran was in Vietnam, the wife should be entitled to benefits now.

Carol: Remember, back then they didn’t service connect the heart, but now it’s automatically service connected if the veteran was in Vietnam. All of these cases where you may not have applied or you weren’t going to win if you apply are the ones that should be pursued.

Matthew: Thanks for joining us today. We hope that this was informative for you. We look forward to seeing you next time.

For Questions About Your Disability Claim... Contact Us

by Matthew Hill
October 18, 2014

Exposure to Lead in Veterans (Part I: Lead Paint)

Exposure to lead in the environment can have a disastrous impact on health. There are many routes of exposure, and many regulations in the past have sought to reduce the exposure risk to the civilian population. However, is it possible that the laws intended to protect civilians haven’t protected service members to the same extent?

Lead Paint in Family Housing and Barracks

Lead paint was ubiquitous in homes painted before the 1960’s, used as a primary ingredient in household paints. In 1978, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lead-based paints from residential use. However, lead does not disappear easily. Approximately 75% of residences built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. Under the law, landlords of properties built before 1978 must provide lessees with a disclosure with regards to the dangers of lead exposure. However, the Department of Defense has shown in the past that it does not consider the “Residency Occupancy Agreements” it uses for Base housing to be the legal equivalent of a lease, and when the Navy was sued for failure to comply with these disclosure rules at Kingsville Naval Air Station in Texas in 1998, it fought and won.

There have been several cases in which the DoD or DoD contractors has violated these lead-based paint laws. In 2012, the EPA alleged that military housing at the Naval Submarine base in Groton, CT, and the Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME were not in compliance with lead-based paint regulation, and the residents of these housing units included 9 families with children.

Many military bases aren’t in the United States, and regulatons and laws differ other countries, so there may even be current paint in barracks or family housing that contains lead. This memo shows that paint containing lead is still used, and is “normally present” in Misawa Air base family housing in Japan. How many overseas bases contain housing that still uses lead-based paint? The answer is unclear.

Lead Paint at Work

Almost every enlisted service member in the Navy or Coast Guard remembers painting. Hours and hours of painting, and hours and hours of needle gunning, sanding, and using deck growlers to remove paint. The dust from the paint would clog our pores, and it would be difficult to remove, even in the shower. Primer and paint covered our skin and clothing. I’m sure similar duties were common in other branches as well. The military still uses lead-based pant in many cases for its durability.

The farther back your service, the more likely you were exposed to lead paint, however even recent sailors, airmen, and soldiers were likely exposed. In my next post, I will continue exploring routes of occupational exposure to lean in service members.

For Questions About Your Disability Claim... Contact Us

by Chris Amidon, Veterans Advocate
October 17, 2014

TDIU – Back to the Basics: two things you need for VA unemployability

Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU or just IU) is such an enormous benefit to veterans that it is worth taking another look at. TDIU is the VA’s way of admitting that, in spite of the assigned ratings that do not add up to being 100% disabled, some veterans still cannot work due to their disabilities. The VA determines a veteran’s entitlement to TDIU in the context of the individual veteran’s capabilities, regardless of whether an average person would be rendered unemployable under the same circumstances.

This is how it works. The VA determines IU based on a 2-step analysis: 1) Ratings; 2) proof of inability to work. In this blog post, we will look at Step 1.

Step 1: Ratings

In order to be eligible for IU, you must:

  • Be a veteran
  • Have at least 1 service-connected disability rated at 60%    OR
  • Have more than 1 service-connected disability, with at least 1 of them rated at 40%, and the combined rating of all the service-connected disabilities adding up to 70%

For example: A veteran has been service-connected for his Lumbar Spine condition at 40%, his left knee at 30%, and his PTSD condition at 30%. Following the Combined Ratings procedures used by the VA, the veteran’s total percentage is 70%. Because the veteran has one service-connected disability rated at 40%, and because the total of his percentages is 70%, the veteran is now entitled to TDIU.

For the purposes of determining what a single disability is, the following factors define “single disability”:

  1. Disabilities of one or both upper extremities, or lower extremities, including the bilateral factor
  2. Disabilities resulting from a common etiology or single accident
  3. Disabilities affecting a single body system
  4. Multiple injuries incurred in action
  5. Multiple disabilities incurred as a POW

For example: A veteran suffers from several service-connected heart disabilities such as congestive heart failure and hypertension. These disabilities arise from a common etiology (the veteran’s heart condition). Therefore, according to regulations, the rating for these disabilities need only combine to a 60% evaluation in order for the veteran to qualify for TDIU under 4.16(a).

For Questions About Your Disability Claim... Contact Us

by Mary Klements, Veterans Advocate
October 15, 2014

Veteran’s Guide to Lead Exposure

In a previous post, I talked about the ways in which veterans could be exposed to Lead Paint. However, lead-based paint is not the only route of exposure. Veterans are also frequently exposed to chemicals containing lead, such as fuels, living and working on military bases contaminated with lead, on the shooting range, and even while soldering.


I’ve written several times on the toxic constituents of Jet Fuels such as JP-7 and JP-7, typically focusing on benzene, toluene, and other constituent components. However, JP Jet Fuels also contain lead, and even in non-jet aircraft, the gasoline typically used, (called AvGas) contains lead as well. In addition, older veterans who were alive before the switch from lead-containing gasolines to the ubiquitous unleaded gasoline we use today were certainly exposed to dangerous amounts of lead.

Environmental Lead at Military Bases

Even just living and/or working on some military bases could expose the average serviceman to lead. Many military bases ae on the EPA’s superfund clean up list. Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Center in New Jersey, for instance was found to have 6 inches of JP-Fuel in the ground water, and to be heavily contaminated with tetraethyl lead. Vieques, Puerto Rico residents have long been complaining about the contamination of their area by the Navy, with one group saying the Navy “has caused more damage to Puerto Rico than any other single actor in the history of Puerto Rico.” High levels of lead, as well as mercury, arsenic, as well as many other chemicals taint the entire area. There are many, many military bases in the United States on the EPA watchlist or superfund list.

At the Shooting Range

The National Research Council found that air measurements for lead were higher than the OSHA acceptable standards on many military shooting ranges. The Council found that those who worked in military shooting ranges had high levels of lead in their blood. The Council recommended medical surveillance for workers who ere exposed as infrequently as 30 days per year.


Most solder has been made with lead, and most veterans who worked in maintenance or electronics where they were required to use solder have been exposed to lead. While, in recent years, there has been a shift towards lead-free solder, it is considered inferior in durability to lead solder, and may still be used frequently.

As we can see, there are several ways in which veterans can show exposure to lead. In the next part in the series, I will discuss the many health effects of lead exposure.

For Questions About Your Disability Claim... Contact Us

by Chris Amidon, Veterans Advocate
October 14, 2014

How to figure out the rating combos you need for unemployability

Matthew: Hello and welcome to the Hill and Ponton video blog. I’m Matthew Hill, and here with me is Carol Ponton. Today we want to talk to you about unemployability or total disability due to individual unemployability, or IU as everyone knows it. We’ve written plenty about this on our blog.
Essentially, unemployability is a way to get 100% compensation where your disabilities don’t necessarily combine to 100%. This is another way.

Carol: Remember, the one way that everybody knows about is your VA ratings have to add up to 100%. But remember with VA math, that’s very hard to do. This is the way that most people who aren’t working get 100%.

Matthew: As Carol just said, you have to show that you can’t work. But then also you have to have a disability where the combination of your disabilities equal 70% with one disability equaling 40, or you have one disability equaling 60%.
An easy one would be you had a back rating of 60% and you weren’t working. At that point, you were eligible. Or you had PTSDat 50 and then a back at 40, that would be equaling 70%.
Now, the trick in the details is that when you have the combo disabilities equaling 70%, you have to have one disability equaling 40. The mistake we see again and again is where vets think that disability has to be one disability. Same thing with the 60. It doesn’t have to be a single rating. Instead, it can be the VA allows for several different things. It can be one body system, like orthopedic – if a veteran has two bad knees or they have a bad back.

Carol: Specifically, if they have a bad back and that causes radiculopathy or pain down either leg, you can combine those to get your 60%.

Matthew: And your 40% to qualify when you have 70. Other ones are common ideology or a single event. So if a veteran was in an accident, and again hurt their back, had migraines as a result and had a bunch of scars, if all those ratings combine to 40 and they have a combined of 70, then they’ve met that threshold rating. Or if they all combine to 60, then that has met it as well.
Carol pointed to this, in that you have orthopedic or system-wide, but other ones are if you have a bilateral problem.

Carol: The right and the left arm.

Matthew: Or you could have scars and arthritis – the elbow on one arm and then a broken wrist on the left arm. But the fact that they’re bilateral is another way to do it.
Something else that the VA allows is if you have multiple disabilities occurred in action. So if you have shell fragment wounds, you have a TBI and you end up having kidney problems because it was punctured, if all of those combine to 60% then that meets the threshold right there. If they combine to 40 and then there are other disabilities that get the veteran up to 70%, then they are then eligible. Were there any other ones you were talking about this?

Carol: No. But if this sounds confusing to you, it is. It’s so confusing that we find the VA often misses this, and that means you’re missing it. So this is something that you really need to check out. A hundred percent is far more in the way of benefits than 90%. You’re talking $1200, $1300, $1400 a month so this is worth your while to see if you qualify for this.

Matthew: As she said we see mistakes again and again on the ratings. Advocates a lot of times will just flat out say you have to have that 40 one disability, or you have to have that 60. But that’s just not the case.
So if you find that you’re in a situation where you cannot work due to your VA disabilities, the whole basis of the rating system for VA is: how much does your disability keep you out of the workforce? Again, if you’re not working because of your disabilities, you should understand right then and there you’re eligible for 100% through unemployability.
If for some reason your disabilities do not add up altogether or combined to 70% or the 60%, you still are eligible for unemployability if it’s those disabilities that keep you out of the workforce. That’s a much harder one because your case has to go through the Central Office.
The one we see a lot is migraines. The top rating for a migraine is 50%. And if a migraine is keeping you out of work, you deserve 100% through unemployability, but since you don’t meet that magical number of 60 or combined 70, the VA is going to deny you again and again.
You just need to keep up and fight for that. From there you need good medical records from your doctor saying this is why you’re out of the workforce.

Carol: If you get those, you’re going to win. So don’t let them give you just 50%.

Matthew: That’s it for this edition of our Veteran Disability blog. We hope you enjoyed it. We will see you again soon.

For Questions About Your Disability Claim... Contact Us

by Matthew Hill
October 13, 2014

Subscribe to our RSS feed »