The Veterans Law Office of
Michael E. Wildhaber

                 Call us Toll Free 855-838-VETS (1776)

How We Can Help You

Do you want to file a claim with the VA for benefits but are not sure how to start? 

 Except in rare cases, if you were injured or developed a disease while you were on active duty and you continue to suffer from its effects you are entitled to VA compensation benefits for any disability that results from it.  It does not matter how many years have passed since your service.  You do not need a lawyer to help you file a claim with the VA, but we can point you in the right direction.  There are several veterans organizations that provide service representatives to assist you without charge to complete the paperwork.  Most states and county governments have local offices that also provide this service.  Finding the correct forms is easy too.  See a local veterans service representative or find the forms yourself by clicking on the link found on our links page.    

 Are you dissatisfied with delays and the lack of progress of your benefits claim at the VA? 

 Currently, the VA has a backlog of nearly 1 million benefits claims they are attempting to process.  Depending on where you live, your local VA regional office (“RO”) may take from six months to two years to process first-time claims.  Until Congress and the VA allocate sufficient staff and other resources to deal with this backlog, you may be required to wait.  Although these delays are not reasonable, some cases are exceptionally bad and the intervention of a lawyer may help.  Contact us to discuss your case if you believe the delay in the processing of your case by the VA has taken too long, especially if the VA has not responded to your letters or phone calls in many months.

Has the VA regional office (“RO”) denied your claim for benefits? 

If the VA RO has sent you a notice letter and a “rating decision” informing you that your claim for benefits has been denied, you have one year from the date of that notice to appeal by filing what is called a “notice of disagreement” or a “NOD”.  If you do not file a NOD within one year, your claim is considered “finally” denied.  It is very important to file a timely NOD, the sooner the better, so you do not miss the one-year deadline.  Another important reason to file the NOD is that once you do, you are legally allowed to hire a lawyer to assist you before the VA if you desire to do so.  At this time federal law does not allow claimants seeking veterans benefits to pay an attorney for assistance until the NOD is filed in the case.  Contact us to discuss your NOD, especially if you have already filed it.

Have you appealed to the VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals (“BVA”), and they denied your benefits too?    

 

Filing the NOD with the RO begins your appeal of the denial of your claim.  The final step in the VA appeal process is for the VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals (“BVA”) to review your case.  If the BVA issues a decision that continues to deny your claim, you must then appeal to a federal court that exists only to review the VA’s denial of benefits claims.  This federal court is called the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (“Veterans Court”).  There also is a deadline to file your appeal with the Veterans Court.  Your “notice of appeal” must be filed within 120 days of the date of the BVA decision.  You can contact our office to discuss your BVA decision and how to appeal it.  Because of the short 120-day time period to appeal to the Veterans Court, it is very important that you contact us immediately after you receive your BVA decision. 
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