Like many large institutions, the bureaucracy of the Department of Veterans' Affairs can be overwhelming. Veterans seeking appeals for disability ratings or information on benefits used to have to go it alone. Thankfully, the VA now allows attorneys to represent veterans before its review boards. Plachta, Murphy & Associates is proud to be one of the few law firms in West Michigan to be certified by the VA, empowered to help veterans and their families pursue the benefits to which they are entitled.
Our mission is to help you understand your legal rights and successfully pursue the benefits you earned by serving our country.
Service connected disability compensation benefits are paid monthly. Your benefit amount depends on the severity of your disability. The VA assigns the severity a "percentage disabled" number, called the disability rating. Amounts paid can range from $123 to $2,673 per month – or more if very severe conditions exist. This is not an income-based benefit. If you believe you have an injury from your service, we strongly encourage you to apply for disability compensation, especially since there is typically no statute of limitations for these claims. And if you believe your rating should be upgraded to entitle you to additional benefits we can assist you in effectively preparing and presenting your case to the VA.
If you have a service-related disability, you may have had a claim denied or assigned a lower percentage rating than the facts of your case warrant. We are here to help. We will coordinate with your medical team and navigate the bureaucracy of the VA on your behalf. We will use our experience with the bureaucracy of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as our industry contacts, to navigate the rules and regulations to effectively advocate for you.
VA regulations require the Department to provide benefits to those who have been injured while in military service. Service Connection is the common term for these benefits. The injury or illness does not have to be caused by combat. To count as a service connection-eligible injury, it only needs to be incurred while on active service or under military orders.
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs has established a service connection for Vietnam Veterans with any of three specific illnesses based on the latest evidence of an association with the herbicides referred to as "Agent Orange." The illnesses are B cell leukemia (such as hair cell leukemia), Parkinson's disease, and Ischemic heart disease. This is great news for our heroes that served during the Vietnam era, making it substantially easier for those afflicted with the above conditions to directly relate them to their time in the service. If you, or a loved one, have any disability concerns regarding your time in the service during the Vietnam era call us today.
Just because a disability isn't readily visible doesn't mean it isn't real or serious. The stress of combat can linger for years before any problems are apparent. One of the most common diagnoses of combat veterans is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Compensation is available for PTSD, but you must take the initiative by filing a claim for benefits. If you, or a loved one, is suffering from PTSD, contact us today.
The VA has a little-known program called Pension with Aid and Attendance. Only 4 percent of eligible beneficiaries receive this monthly benefit for Veterans of Foreign Wars who are over age 65 and in need of long-term care.
If a veteran has served at least ninety days of active military service, one day of which was during wartime, and has an honorable discharge, the veteran and his or her spouse may be eligible for this benefit. Aid & Attendance benefits can total as much as $2,471 per month plus medical services. For veterans over 65 who need long-term care, either at home, in an assisted living facility or in nursing home care, this benefit can make a real financial difference for you and your family.
The Aid and Attendance pension is awarded based upon the veteran’s dates of service, not the length of service or whether the veteran retired from the military. It is a needs-based benefit paid to qualifying veterans with low incomes and/or high medical costs. There is also a pension benefit for surviving spouses. Amounts payable to widows may not be as great as veterans’ benefits, but can greatly assist widows who need assistance.
Because the veteran's Social Security benefits impact the rate of pension and other monthly benefits, our VA and SSA specialists work together to ensure veterans and their families get the fullest benefits possible.
Unlike most law firms, our team includes not only attorneys who are well-versed in elder law and litigation, but also a Government Benefits team of attorneys and paraprofessionals. One of our team members, Richard J. Cross, is a military veteran himself and previously worked as a Social Security Administration Claims Representative and as an Eligibility Specialist for the Veterans Administration. Our Government Benefits client service team taps a wealth of experience and industry contacts to advocate on your behalf, whether you served 4 days or 40 years ago.