Q: Do you have to hire a veterans lawyer to handle your VA disability claim?

A: No, you are not required to hire a veterans lawyer to handle your VA disability claim. Unfortunately, the claims process can be long and frustrating for many veterans. Having an advocate like a veterans lawyer to help you navigate the process successfully and as quickly as possible is extremely beneficial. A veterans lawyer specializes in dealing with the VA and has the expertise and experience to know what is needed to give your claim the best chance possible. A lawyer will also assure that you are awarded the most advantageous rating. He or she will be able to recognize issues that might cause delays and act to remedy them quickly. So although you are not required to hire a veterans lawyer, having one on your side can make a huge difference on the outcome of your claim.

Q: What are retroactive awards?

A: Retroactive awards are past due benefits payments. You are entitled to benefits based on the effective date assigned to your condition or injury. In some cases, that means that veterans are entitled to years of benefits after they make it through the VA claims process. If you disagree with any details of the rating decision for your claim, speak with a veterans lawyer. A lawyer will review the details of your claim, as well as those of your rating decision, and can help you with appropriate next steps to assure you are awarded all benefits to which you are entitled.

Q: Can you be eligible for both VA benefits and social security disability insurance?

A: Yes, it is possible to be awarded both social security disability insurance (SSDI) and VA benefits. VA benefits will affect your eligibility for supplemental security income (SSI), as it is a need-based program. Your VA benefits will not, however, affect your eligibility for SSDI.

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